Library to digitize ‘Pow Wow’ newspaper with $2,200 grant

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Sunil Bishwokarma

Last semester, Patrick Morgan’s English professional writing class had only seven students. He tasked them with writing a grant proposal to be presented to Heather Pilcher, a ULM librarian.

The grant proposal they wrote requested $2,200 which would be used to digitize old issues of the Pow Wow, the school’s newspaper at the time, which are kept in the ULM Library Special Collections and Archives.

Last week, their proposal was approved by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

The idea to write a proposal concerning the archives came to Morgan when he took a tour of the archives led by Pilcher. He said it was obvious she has a passion for preserving history.

“I asked her at the end of the tour, ‘if you had the money, what are your dream projects,’” Morgan said.

Pilcher said she would digitize ULM’s history. 

And that’s exactly what the LEH Rebirth Grant is going to do. It’s going to preserve issues of the Pow Wow that were published from 1931 to 1980. The newspaper reported on some of the most pivotal events of the 20th century, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the John F. Kennedy assassination and the Civil Rights Movement.

“I’m very excited about getting the grant,” Pilcher said. “Because it will allow ULM to offer an additional online resource available to researchers and alumni.”

When it’s digitized, the paper will be available at the Louisiana Digital Library and will be free to everyone. 

There will also be a public exhibit showcasing the newspaper’s highlights through the decades. 

The students who did the research and wrote the grant proposal are Alfonzo Galvan, Mary Hillman, Clayton Bryan, Trinity Foucha, Rufus Dell McDowell II, Jenessa Taylor and Sarah Treadway.

Hillman is now a teacher in the Monroe City School District, and plans on using the skills she learned in Morgan’s class to help her school and to fund an adult literacy project at a local shelter. 

“I’m extremely grateful I took the grant class,” Hillman said. “Grants are so crucial to all levels of education.”