Brandywine Professor Receives Fellowships To Document Historical Figure Zilpha Elaw [Video]


A Brandywine professor in English received fellowships from two prestigious institutions. The fellowships allowed her to continue her research about the life of a black woman preacher in 19th century.

Kimberly Blocket began a research about the life of Zilpha Elaw, a black woman preacher who lived in the 19th century. There was very little information about this evangelist. The only document that existed about this historical figure was a autobiographical spiritual narrative by the black woman herself. After reading it, Kimberly Blocket became determined to shed more light about this woman's life, the Penn State News reported.

Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Kimberly Blocket with fellowships. Through the financial assistance, Ms. Blocket would be able to continue her research about the life of Zilpha Elaw. There was one autobiography of this woman but it was very old already and difficult to read.

The counterparts of NEH are the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Works of peers in these fields are reviewed and those found worthy of support het funding. The fellowship lets the researcher focus fully on the work at hand without worrying about time and money. NEH supports studies considered relevant to the world such as history, religion, literature, philosophy and foreign language, the Daily Beast reported.

Now that her work is uninterrupted, Ms. Blocket hopes to finish her book about the life of Zilpha Elaw. New information about this historical figure had been added to what was known about her. The personal narrative that Elaw wrote ended with her writing she wanted to go to England. People thought she died right after arriving in London.

However, Kimberly Blocket found out that she did not die right after her arrival. She continued to preach for 30 years more. People in England recognized her for her work. Ms. Blocket will be able to rewrite the life story of one of America's black women heroes.

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