PPS is excited to have a robust cohort of 2021 summer interns assisting us with a wide variety of historic preservation projects! Marin joins us through the Brown Swearer Center’s community engagement summer internship program.
Where are you from and what are you studying?
I’m originally from Providence. I now study Environmental Studies and Urban Studies at Brown University, where my passion for learning about Providence’s urban landscape has continued to grow.
What made you apply for an internship with PPS?
My interests intersect between urban and environmental studies. More specifically, how we can assess and tend to the needs of a community and care for the environment at the same time. Growing up in Providence, I’ve become familiar with the social and structural dynamic throughout the city, including the role that PPS plays in the greater community. I immediately felt that the work PPS does, and is planning to do, would be a valuable addition to my understanding of urban history—the perfect launchpad for understanding our city’s’ future and how I can be a part of it.
You’re working on a project to expand the Guide to Providence Architecture to include erased and marginalized histories. What are some of the interesting stories you’ve come across so far? How do you think this project will help our understanding of architecture and Providence history?
My research on Providence’s architectural history focuses largely on the College Hill and Fox Point neighborhoods. What initially struck me was the history of Benefit Street, a historically Black and Cape Verdean neighborhood. Growing up in Providence, the only description of Benefit that I have adopted from those around me, is “historic.” This word, while it holds some truth, is inadequate to tell the rich story of the residents of Benefit. These residents included activists, abolitionists, and families who were the foundation of the city that I call home today. And yet, there is still a lack of education, never mind recognition, for these residents due to the marginalization and erasure of their histories.
History is all about the stories a historian decides to tell. My biggest takeaway from this internship is that history is not entirely objective and should never be treated as such. I believe this project will enable us to take on a new perspective of Providence’s architectural history. There is always more to uncover, and a picture cannot be complete without involving the voices of all communities. This project is critical to unveiling Providence’s past as well as shaping Providence’s future.
Anything else you’d like to share?
History is for everyone and can relate to everything!