Research takes student to Chicago

While many Cornellians look to fellowships for a leg up in the real world, a few, like Gordaki Moore ’07, used their opportunity to fine-tune and explore new areas in academia.

A sociology, anthropology, and ethnic studies major from Chicago, Moore used her fellowship to study “ways in which black newspapers of the 1900s to 1920s were instrumental in giving African-Americans advice on how to combat bad, inaccurate imagery.” As a Cornell Fellow in History, Moore’s research took her to some of the best libraries the Windy City had to offer, most notably the Newberry Library.

“The big idea was to look for a connection between that era and the civil rights era,” she said.

But when she discovered the two weren’t as interconnected as she thought, she quickly switched gears. “I discovered that black newspapers included advice columns on etiquette and things of that nature,” she said. “I realized these are ways in which African-Americans sought racial uplift and respectability.”

What made Moore’s fellowship so fruitful was the unique information she was able to gather by working off-campus at libraries that specialized in her specific interests.

“The main thing I discovered when I was doing my research was their really, really big sheet music collection,” she said, adding that music was one of the most common representations of African-American culture during that period. She also cited the collection of rare articles from the newspaper Chicago Defender as an instrumental resource she couldn’t have found anywhere else.

Moore now plans to take a year off to teach English abroad before returning for graduate school.

"This has been an amazing experience," she said, "that will prepare me well for graduate school upon my return to America."