'Steenth Street Project receives funding from Welsh McNulty Institute

Professor Jean Lutes has been working in collaboration with Villanova undergraduate students and others on a project to recover a book of short stories about Black children in turn-of-the-century New York. The book was written by the pioneering Alice Dunbar-Nelson, but was never published as a complete collection as had been intended. 

The project has received support from the Anne Welsh McNulty Institute at Villanova, which seeks to build "a community and network that supports gender-based initiatives throughout the University and beyond."

To quote from the Institute's statement on the project, "This public-facing humanities project aims to recover a lost short story collection written in the 1890s by Black author and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, based on her experience teaching Black kindergarteners at the White Rose Mission in New York City. 'The Annals of ‘Steenth Street,' as Dunbar-Nelson titled the planned collection, features the youngest residents of a city neighborhood targeted for uplift by Progressive-era reformers. It chronicles a vibrant community where poverty, neglect, domestic violence, limited access to education, and untreated illnesses make it difficult for people to thrive."

In addition to recovering the collection, the project's planners intend to use the collection in conjunction with the school district of Philadelphia in curriculum development. "In deference to Dunbar-Nelson’s long career as an educator and advocate for racial justice, our goal is to produce a widely accessible digital edition along with curriculum resources and to make our work scalable, relevant, and adaptable to multiple K-12 school systems as well as college classrooms."

You can read more about the Institute and the project here