Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award: Chido Muchemwa

Chido Muchemwa, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, is a 2017 recipient of the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes minority graduate students of African, Asian, Latino, or Native American descent who, through scholastic achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA.

In her academic and professional activities, Muchemwa is dedicated to ensuring that historically underrepresented communities are not only reflected in archives, but are the narrators of their stories. As an intern with the American Heritage Center in Laramie, Wyoming, she designed a display that showcased the state’s Native American history outside of the gaze of the American settler. At her current internship at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Muchemwa presented on “Blackness in the White Imagination” during Black History Month, highlighting depictions of African American people and culture authored by White people and advocating for collections to feature Black stories told by Black people.

Muchemwa writes: “Many communities have created their own community archives as a way to tell their stories . . . . Traditional institutions have much to learn from such community archives, and I have been investigating what we can learn about radically imagining new structures for our archives that are more inclusive.”  

One of her supporters notes that “Muchemwa’s work is foregrounded in a concern and a sensitivity toward centering those who have not been traditionally represented in the archive.”