Amber Reid restores lost voices

Amber Reid, Ph.D., enjoys quite a diversified background in psychology, counseling, cultural studies, and human development. “I’ve worked professionally in most of these areas, along with academic work,” she says.

During her time as a counselor, Reid recognized the “transformative power” of storytelling. “Sharing personal stories was therapeutic and healing for many, and on a larger scale, stories allow people to feel seen.” When Reid pursued her doctorate, she focused on the field of humanities because “it allows you to apply an interdisciplinary perspective. I was able to integrate the knowledge from my counseling and human development background with history and cultural studies.”

Now Reid is working with the Funk Heritage Center as a post-doctoral fellow on a project called Restoring Lost Voices, which is funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Sustaining Humanities Infrastructure Program (SHIP) award. “This project resonated with my mission of being able to see and hear people,” says Reid.

Over the next three months Reid will complete foundational and background research on different populations including the African American population, the LGBT population, and abled and disabled communities in Cherokee County to learn about their experiences and their history. To do this work, Reid divides her time between research and community outreach at the Funk Heritage Center, and visiting local archives at other cultural centers and universities to learn more about the history of Cherokee County. “I’ve had a chance to do extensive research at Kennesaw State University’s archives, the Atlanta University Center, and Emory’s archives, and I have a visit to the Atlanta History Center scheduled soon. It’s been an awesome opportunity to learn more about Cherokee County and continue building relationships with other places in the Atlanta metro area.”

Using her research, Reid will create a plan for integrating the findings into the Funk Heritage Center’s interpretation of area history. “I’m also hoping to build relationships with various community organizations and individuals and to provide information to the Center about how to maintain those going forward.”

Reid is also an adjunct history professor at Morehouse College, and in her spare time, pursues a personal interest in movement, particularly creative movement, as a form of healing. “I also am involved in a lot of dance and completing a yoga teacher certification program. I spend a lot of time doing liturgical or praise dance, working with my church and other churches, and any type of social dancing.”