Hananie Albert

Above: Hananie Albert

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Hananie Albert

Head of the CLAS

As a child, Haitian immigrant Hananie Albert spent her summers at the public library immersed in books about women leaders such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Fannie Lou Hammer. She taught herself English reading volumes of history books, becoming more versed in American history than many of her American born peers. Yet she was puzzled by the lack of information she could obtain in the library about her home country.

“As the oldest of six children, and the only one that had been born there, I felt it was my duty to know my history,” she said. “When I finally took a trip to Haiti during the summer before my freshman year of college, I found libraries with partial histories, censored by rulers before my time, and heavily guarded archives brimming with politically motivated reconstitutions of history. I was unsatisfied.”

When she became a student at the University of Florida, Albert set out to learn all she could about Haitian history. Triple majoring in three CLAS subjectsanthropology, English and French—she went beyond classroom knowledge to complete a research project with UF anthropologist Faye Harrison on the Fiyet Lalo, a female paramilitary force that operated in Haiti during the reign of notorious dictator Francois Duvalier.

Albert is also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Presidential Scholar, resident assistant, teaching assistant in African American studies, and a writer for BlackListed Magazine.

In honor of her academic achievements, she was recently awarded a prestigious Beinecke Scholarship, which will enable her to pursue a graduate education in the humanities and social sciences. She has been awarded $34,000, which she plans to use to pursue a doctorate in Africana studies after graduating in spring of 2009.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. The board created an endowment to provide substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise. Albert was one of 22 students selected across the nation, and the only one from the state of Florida.

“I have always been fascinated with what lies just beneath the range of perceptibility and, in the case of my research, it was an entire history,” Albert said. “My experiences as a research scholar at UF have given me the tools and the motivation to pursue life as a scholar in Africana Studies—the study of history, politics and culture of the African Diaspora. I hope this degree allows me to reconcile the academic and the everyday, by allowing histories, characters and ideas to speak truth into our present."

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Buffy Lockette

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