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Meet Our Intern, Isaiah Thomas

The Silver Crescent Standard; a blog of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Fri, 10/27/2023

A Blog Post by Isaiah Thomas

I am originally from Cayce, South Carolina, but grew up in the Middle East. I am currently a student at Columbia International University where I am majoring in English. My first interest in history began with my exposure to Greek and Roman ruins where I grew up.  Early experiences of these environments gave me an appreciation for the richness and spectacle of history. Since returning to the United States I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore similar sites related to American history.

I first visited the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in 2022 to find some historical data for a paper for an American Literature course. I was fascinated by the documents and primary sources stored here at the Archives and began to consider the possibility of an internship here.

Most of my internship has been spent organizing and cataloguing records or job shadowing which has broadened my understanding of the Department and its purpose. I have enjoyed hands-on experience restoring old documents, learning principles of document storage and meeting many passionate people who care about the Department and its mission. Working here has also helped prepare me for the research I hope to do in my future studies.

One of my favorite historical figures is John Steinbeck. Besides his monumental role as an influential American author, he also served as a journalist and activist. I admire Steinbeck’s creativity and integrity. During World War II, Steinbeck’s wholehearted egalitarianism prevented him from staying behind a desk while the working class men he admired fought on the front lines. Steinbeck embedded as a reporter with American commandos in Italy. He put his life on the line several times, even taking up arms in several heated skirmishes. Before the war was over Steinbeck had even been nominated for the Medal of Honor, which was denied because he was not a service member. While he was an undoubtedly imperfect figure, Steinbeck’s tenacity and commitment to his values even at risk to his life inspire me.