Emily Art '17
Over the semester, I researched a man named Raymond Schuyler as well as the fraternal organization, the Knights of Pythias. Working with the Schuyler and Knights of Pythias photographs from the Bullard collection has been one of the most unique and meaningful projects I have been a part of during my time at Clark. Despite the late nights and running into research road blocks, there was nothing more rewarding than showing my research to Larry and Nick Schuyler, the grandsons of Raymond Schuyler. Listening to Larry and Nick's family stories at my kitchen table over a cup of coffee reminded me how these narratives are not just in the past, but rather are timeless, living histories.
While Larry and Nick remind me of how history can transcend time, researching the Knights of Pythias has taken me back in time to the turn of the century. Learning about the fraternal organization has highlighted the importance and power of community engagement in a time with little technology. The Knights of Pythias helped shape the African American identity, emphasizing self-determination and respectability during an era of racial prejudice and discrimination. Interestingly, Raymond Schuyler, a Knights of Pythias member himself, demonstrations the interconnectedness of Bullard's photographs and how each photograph represents its own story, while also acting as a piece to a larger picture.