Promoting Inclusive, Diverse Narratives in Federal History

Solicited by the Society for History in the Federal Government. Endorsed by the OAH Committee on National Park Service Collaboration

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Type: Workshop

Tags: Public History and Memory; Theory and Methodology


No pre-registration required

Federal historians sometimes face challenges in documenting a more inclusive, diverse historical record. This roundtable will explore methods to empower historians who recognize these issues and strategies to confront institutional resistance toward promoting inclusive and diverse histories in their organizations.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: Mandy A. Chalou, Department of State
Mandy A. Chalou joined the Office of the Historian at the US Department of State in March 2008 as a historian in the Declassification and Publishing Division. She is part of the Office’s digital initiatives team and is currently the Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division, where she oversees the typesetting and publishing of the Foreign Relations series and the editing of other Office projects. She is currently compiling a retrospective Foreign Relations volume on public diplomacy from 1920 through 1940. She completed a BA in Humanities from Bradford College in 1997, and received her MA in History from the University of New Hampshire in 2004. She is a member of the National Council on Public History, where she recently served on the committee for the M.C. Robinson Prize for Historical Analysis, and is also treasurer of the Society for History in the Federal Government.

Panelist: Elizabeth C. Charles, Department of State
Elizabeth C. Charles works in the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State as a researcher and documentary editor for the Foreign Relations of the United States series. She has compiled two volumes on the Reagan administration’s policies toward the Soviet Union 1983-85 and 1985-86. She also completed a volume on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, 1983-1988. Currently, she is researching in the George H.W. Bush records, compiling the final Soviet Union volume and a volume dealing with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Soviet successor states and Russia. Elizabeth finished her PhD in Modern Russian and Cold War History at the George Washington University in 2010, an MA in Russian History from Boston College, and a BA in History from the University of Georgia. She serves on the Training and Curriculum Committee of the National Council on Public History, as the Vice President of the Society for History in the Federal Government, and is a member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Panelist: Caridad de la Vega, National Mall and Memorial Parks, National Park Service
Ms. de la Vega is a historian with the National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service in Washington, DC. She has worked in historic preservation since 2002 when she interned for the National Historic Landmarks Program as a National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE) intern. As a freelance consultant and a native Spanish speaker, Ms. de la Vega has worked with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on bilingual exhibitions, such as the indigenous Bolivian community in Washington, DC, and borderland culture in the American Southwest. As an independent consultant, she has also written numerous Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans, a program of the National Register of Historic Places, on African American history. From 2003 to 2011, Ms. de la Vega was a weekend museum supervisor at the Carlyle House Historic Park in Alexandra, Virginia.

Ms. de la Vega has written National Historic Landmark nominations, published exhibit reviews, and contributed several articles to cultural resource publications, particularly on diverse communities. In her capacity with the NHL program, Ms. de la Vega’s most recent project involves the completion of the remaining two civil rights theme studies on housing and employment discrimination.

From 2004 to 2013, Ms. de la Vega served as a board member of the Arlington Heritage Alliance, a local preservation advocacy group in Arlington, Virginia. She has been active in the National Council on Public History since 2014 and is currently serving a three-year term on the board. Caridad is also active in the Society for Historians in the Federal Government and serves on their John Wesley Powell Prize Committee. Ms. de la Vega earned her B.A. in history from the University of Miami and her M.A. in public history from American University. She is a native of Miami, Florida.

Panelist: Jessie Kratz, National Archives
Jessie Kratz is the Historian of the National Archives. Upon her appointment as the agency’s first historian, she established the National Archives History Office to ensure National Archives history is being captured and shared. She speaks regularly at academic and history conferences, and writes articles on the history and importance of the National Archives. She is the editor the popular National Archives blog, Pieces of History, and runs the agency’s Oral History Program. Before becoming Historian, Ms. Kratz worked for 13 years at the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC. Jessie holds a bachelor degree from St. Ambrose University, and a master’s degree from the George Washington University. Jessie is the Past President of the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG).

Panelist: Terrance Rucker, U.S. House of Representatives
Terrance Rucker is a historical publication specialist in the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives. Terrance edits the online Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and is a co-editor of Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-2012 (Washington: GPO, 2014). A Ph. D. candidate at the George Washington University, Terrance is currently writing a dissertation that features Congressional delegates who served during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Terrance earned a B.A. in history from the Pennsylvania State University in 1998 and an M.A. in history from the George Washington University in 2007.