Graduating senior Howard Benjamin Rudnick, a history and economics major in Arts & Sciences, has been named the winner of the 2011 William Miles Prize at Washington University in St. Louis.
Sponsored by the University Libraries’ Film & Media Archive and African and African-American Studies in Arts & Sciences, the annual $500 prize is awarded to the WUSTL undergraduate who submits the most outstanding essay that makes significant use of rare and unique materials held by the Film & Media Archive.
The prize is given in honor of the life and work of documentary filmmaker William Miles (born 1931), whose archives reside in the Film & Media Archive. His films include I Remember Harlem, his best-known work, as well as Men of Bronze, The Different Drummer: Blacks in the Military and others.
Rudnick’s essay, titled “A Coincidental Cup of Kenyan Coffee: SNCC and Malcolm X Recast the Struggle in Nairobi,” investigates the influence of various African freedom struggles on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a major organization in the American civil rights movement. Rudnick’s research was directed by Jean Allman, PhD, the J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities in Arts & Sciences.
Among the archived materials Rudnick consulted in writing his essay were five interviews of the many conducted for Henry Hampton’s Eyes on the Prize documentaries about the American civil rights movement. Recently transcribed and made digitally available by University Libraries, the full interviews contain valuable primary source material not included in the finished Eyes on the Prize episodes that publicly were aired.
“When I began my research, the interview transcripts from Eyes on the Prize were not yet digitized, but now that they have all been made available, my hope is that more students get a chance to read them and use them in their work,” Rudnick says. “They are a treasure and remarkable resource for anyone trying to better understand the civil rights movement, and I am sure that the digitization will go a long way toward opening the eyes of Wash. U. undergrads to this and the archive’s other great resources.”
Rudnick, who graduated in May, has been hired as a research analyst for the Tobin Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-policy think tank in Cambridge, Mass.
For more information about holdings of the Film & Media Archive or about conducting research there, visit the libraries’ website.