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Breighlynn M. Polk 

Project Fellow, HBCU Radio Preservation Project

Breighlynn M. Polk, a native of New Iberia, Louisiana, is a story-keeper, heritage preserver, and cultural curator.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a master’s in American Studies from Kennesaw State University, with a specific focus on oral history in the southwest region of Louisiana.

As an early-career oral historian, Polk has curated a digital listening exhibit titled The Second Side: A Historic Retelling of African American Life in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. In partnership with Shadows-on-the-Teche, an endowment site for The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Breighlynn assembled a collection of 60-plus oral histories that were recorded in New Iberia during the early 1990s and 2000s. These interviews chronicled the lives of African Americans in the Louisiana South who experienced adversity during and after the era of Jim Crow.

With a growing interest in cultural anthropology and ethnography as it relates to oral history, Breighlynn’s goal is to expand the historical knowledge and awareness of local, underrepresented communities through the preservation of personal narratives and experiences. As the inaugural fellow for the HBCU Radio Preservation Project, Polk plans to participate in the educational development for the initiative, establishing models, resources, and training materials that will support advancing the preservation of African American stories through HBCU radio.