Texas A&M University archivist works to fill gaps in history

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Rebecca Hankins has been an archivist for 25 years, working to uncover the untold stories of our history.

"I'm constantly going around saying, what are we missing? What have we not documented? Who are we leaving out of this story of the democracy of America?", said Hankins.

Since 2003, she's spent her days at the Cushing Memorial Library on Texas A&M's campus.

"For me, it's important that people outside of the university know that we have someone here doing this work," said Hankins. "I really think its important to provide resources on all of our stories, all of our narratives and all of our history."

As the only archivist on campus who focuses on Africana Studies, she does her best to fill in the gaps of history, as it pertains to African Americans and Texans as a whole.

"I try to make sure we include other stories, the ones that are minimized, the ones you don't hear as much," said Hankins.

Items like handwritten letters from abolitionists and a muster roll of Buffalo Soldiers from 1874, Hankins does her part to create new narratives.

"It's a process you continually do, it's not something that is ever done because there's always new material," said Hankins.

Hankins hopes that with every new discovery, she helps others uncover a piece of themselves.

"It's important to know that your story is in fact important. That it is worth preserving, sharing and providing access to," she said.

Hankins assists other diversity campaigns and exhibitions on campus as well, which include Hispanic and Asian artifacts.

In January, former President Barack Obama appointed Hankins to serve as a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

She is currently serving on the commission to help preserve and publish documents that relate to United States history.