This fall, Wake Forest University junior John Corey is helping the museum build a database that pulls together the people, places, and events associated with the Wake Forest Plantation from 1820 to 1832. To learn more about John, we asked him to complete a short questionnaire.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a junior who is majoring in History and minoring in Philosophy. I am originally from downtown Chicago but grew up in Michigan. My hobbies include a variety of sports/fitness endeavors (playing and watching) as well as classical piano (which I have practiced for 17 years) and plenty of studying of course.
What interested you in this internship and what do you hope to learn?
What interested me the most about this internship is the sheer importance and uniqueness that is inherent in its mission. I hope to broaden my knowledge of the African American experience in America during historical periods as well as in this moment. I see this internship as a way to give back to that community and also as a way to attain deeper empathy for it. Simply reading about these very real issues and trying to imagine them oftentimes does not cut it, and this internship is a way for me to step further into the reality of systems of slavery in this country. Aside from this, history, in general, is fascinating to me, and being able to contribute to a museum’s research was an opportunity that I did not want to pass up.
What are your personal historical interests?
The American revolution and everything more recent is generally what piques my interest in history, but I am almost certain that there are areas of history in every single period that will interest me. The European enlightenment that came about before (and during) the 18th-century revolutions in the United States and France is also a very captivating time in history to study. More recent times (1800-2000) are what I would say peak my interest in history because there is the most direct evidence about how those times have affected our present day, but I absolutely plan on gaining more knowledge about earlier and even ancient times.
What has been your favorite class at Wake Forest? What did you enjoy most about it?
My favorite class thus far has been Modern European History with Dr. Stephanie Koscak. It was an introductory-level history class, meaning that it gave an overview of about 500 years of history. This meant that I was able to explore human history going back as far as the Protestant Reformation in Europe, all the way to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. These key events, as well as everything in between, provided me with a great baseline of historical knowledge that I can use to move deeper into each specific topic that was introduced. What I enjoyed most about it was the evidence that Dr. Koscak provided on each topic, and by “evidence” I mean primary sources that correlated to each event. Reading the works of people such as Immanuel Kant, MLK, Churchill, Hitler, Gandhi, etcetera was very eye-opening.
What are your plans after graduating from Wake Forest?
My plans after graduation are to take a gap year and work before applying to graduate schools. I am pretty sure that this will be law school but am still trying to figure these things out.
What’s one book you’ve read recently that you’d recommend to others and why?
This past summer I read John Adams by David McCullough and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the formation of the United States government and who our founding fathers really were as individuals. The book provides an account of John’s early life with close detail all the way through his law and political careers. Readers also gain a tremendous behind-the-scenes look into his relationship with his wife Abigail, as McCullough uses letters that they sent to one another all throughout John’s career especially when he was serving as a foreign minister in Europe. His son, John Quincy, is also an important figure in the book who travels with his father and gains world-class educational experiences abroad that prepared him for his destiny of becoming our 6th president in 1825.