Center for Missouri Studies

2017 Fellowships Shed Light on Minority History

Scholars to Explore the Local Heritage of Native Americans and Latinos/as

The Center for Missouri Studies will award fellowships in 2017 to a history professor at California State University–Long Beach and a doctoral candidate in history at Saint Louis University. The Center, the educational outreach program of the State Historical Society of Missouri, promotes scholarship in underexplored fields of Missouri history and culture.

Patricia Cleary, a historian at CSU–Long Beach, will receive the Center for Missouri Studies fellowship for Native Americans in Missouri History for her proposed study of Big Mound. Built by the Mississippian culture that flourished from about AD 900 to 1300 in the region including present-day Missouri and Illinois, Big Mound once stood in what is now north St. Louis. Cleary, a St. Louis native, plans to examine the debates about contemporary Indian peoples and their predecessors sparked by the mound's destruction in 1869.

"This project explores differing views to reveal contemporaries' understanding of the presence, persistence, and cultures of Indian peoples," Cleary said. "It draws upon accounts of European and American travelers' descriptions of Indians in the area and scientific treatises of the day to unravel the links between the indigenous past and present in St. Louis and the West."

Bryan Winston, a doctoral student at Saint Louis University, will receive the fellowship for Latinos/as in Missouri History. His study will investigate how employment and migration patterns shaped Mexican communities across Missouri from 1900 to 1970.

"Mexican immigrants pursued railroad and agricultural employment in Missouri, bringing them to Kansas City, St. Louis, and the Missouri Bootheel," Winston said. "There, Mexican immigrants used Mexican consulates and cultural activities to build social and political bonds, strengthening their communities."

Winston will also examine policies affecting Mexican Americans and the attitudes of non-Latinos toward Mexican immigrants to better understand the obstacles the group has faced, such as repatriation and deportation drives in the 1930s.

The fellowship recipients will hold their appointments for the 2017 calendar year. Each will write a scholarly essay for possible publication in the Missouri Historical Review, the quarterly journal of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and will also make a public presentation of their work. The fellowship awards include stipends of $5,000.

"The 2017 fellowships promise to give a voice to groups that are an important part of our state's complex heritage," said Gary Kremer, SHSMO executive director. "Since its inception in 2014 that is exactly what the Center for Missouri Studies fellowship program has sought to do through the support of scholarship examining everything from Missouri's natural environment to local Jewish history."

In addition to the fellowships, the Center's initiatives include publications, such as the Review; educational programs like National History Day in Missouri, a partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council; and the African American Experience in Missouri lecture series, cohosted with the University of Missouri.