by Eden Wolfer
Eden Wolfer is a rising junior from Wilmington, Delaware. She is majoring in sociology and minoring in education. This is her first summer working for the Race & Racism Project and she is excited to learn from this experience.
Researching a person is harder than I thought it would be. Having grown up in an era where a quick search of my name pulls up things from my social media to presentations I did in high school, it is disconcerting to me that the same is not true for older generations. The sheer amount of raw data that the social media generation produces makes us easier to find–leaving us more vulnerable.
This week I started my research knowing that as much as I could wish that Google would have all my answers, the best place for me to start was looking through old yearbooks, if only to put a face to a name. I found Gregory Carter among the seniors in the class of 1978 fairly quickly, he was one of a handful of black men in the senior class after all, but this year’s yearbook did not have a senior directory and scouring the activities pages turned nothing up. Disappointed, I left the library feeling as if I would never find anything of value if I couldn’t even use a yearbook correctly. As a last ditch effort, I went back to my original instinct and just Googled him.
After scrolling past LinkedIn pages I found a New York Times article from 1998 about a school shooting where basketball coach Greg Carter was injured. Despite the tragedy that led to the article, it was the first hint as to Greg Carter’s extracurricular activities in college. However, for some reason in 1978 the yearbook did not include a basketball team photo or a team roster despite the full two page spread dedicated to the team in action. So began the hunt.
I went to the Richmond College Dean’s Office and asked if they would have access to those records–they led me to the yearbooks and I knew it was not going to help so I thanked them and left. Next, I went to the athletic office where no one was around because it was lunch. I found one person in the back of an office that knew who might know where the old rosters would be kept. Turns out, they were kept in the back of a storage closet, one with holes in the floor and pipes running along the walls. In old file file storage boxes, hundreds of old basketball press guides were stacked together and left to be forgotten. As I dug through the boxes I asked if these had been digitized at any point. I was assured that someone would make it a project one day, things are pretty slow during the summer.
As it turned out, Greg Carter was not on the basketball team. He was the team manager from his sophomore year on though. In the back of this storage closet I was sure finding this one fact about Greg Carter was the best thing that had happened all summer.
My bubble was popped almost two hours later when I sat down to compile all of the information I had collected from the yearbooks, and the New York Times article, and my hunt through Robins Stadium. The harsh reality was I knew next to nothing new; Gregory Carter, Richmond Class of 1978, Education and Political Science major, basketball team manager, this is not enough for me to form interview questions on. I was going to have to go back to work.