Josephine Forman Scholarship: Ishmael Ross

Ishmael Ross is the 2020 recipient of the Josephine Forman Scholarship sponsored by the General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church, in cooperation with the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The $10,000 scholarship provides financial support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, encourages students to pursue careers as archivists, and promotes the diversification of the American archives profession.

Ross is a graduate student at Louisiana State University (LSU) pursuing a dual degree that combines an Archival Studies certificate with a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. His decision to pursue a post-graduate degree was borne out of the realization that even in New Orleans, a city where Black people are the majority, the archival field is majority white women and men. He is employed full-time in the New Orleans Public Library system at the Central City Public Library. In this role, he has assisted in establishing an exhibit from the Amistad Research Center that focuses on Black feminists in New Orleans. Ishmael’s internship at the Amistad Research Center focuses on African-American and Civil Rights-related manuscripts and materials. He recognizes the importance of diversity in this field, as well as the value of his perspective as an African American male in the profession.

He is passionate about the African American culture and keeping its history relevant, as well as sharing it within and in other communities. As one of his recommenders wrote, “He is interested in the intersection of criminal law and preserving and amplifying the history of African Americans.”