“What Are You Working On, Jason Clingerman?”
Ever wonder what exciting new projects the many employees at NARA are working on? The “What are You Working On?” blog feature aims to introduce a variety of NARA employees and highlight some of the exciting projects we are working on around the agency. Check for this blog series on Wednesdays!
This week, we introduce Jason Clingerman, Processing Archivist for Textual Records.
What is your name and title?
Jason Clingerman, Archivist
Where is your job located?
Archives II in College Park
What is your job in a nutshell?
I am a processing archivist for textual records. I ensure records receive the proper housing and preservation treatment, I arrange records properly if not already done so, and I describe records for addition to the Archival Research Catalog (ARC). I usually tell people the one-liner that I “make records available to researchers.”
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am assisting in processing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) case files relating to civil unrest (known as Classification 157). These records are all found in Record Group 65. Case files I have worked on include notable organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Likewise I have worked on the case files of notable individuals including Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, and Byron De La Beckwith. I have also worked with case files relating to the FBI’s controversial COINTELPRO, or counterintelligence program, in which the Bureau directly attempted to disrupt various civil unrest groups’ operations and interrelations. These case files span the period 1957 to 1978 which was a critical time for U.S. race relations and the civil rights movement.
Right now, as part of my Archivist Development Program (ADP), I am on a cross-training assignment under the National Declassification Center (NDC) in which I am withdrawing classified documents from the civil unrest case files so they can be declassified and made available to the public. I find this work fascinating because I am eager to contribute to making these records available for researcher use and for potential FOIA requests.
How long have you been at NARA?
Since January 2008, so about 2.5 years.
What has changed since you started at NARA?
Two of the biggest changes (to me): We’ve acquired a new President, who is pushing for speedy declassification of documents and open government initiatives. He has appointed a new Archivist, David Ferriero, who I feel so far has done a wonderful job of improving and adapting NARA’s image for the 21st century – specifically emphasis on the use of social media tools.
Do you have a favorite day at NARA, or a favorite discovery or accomplishment?
I really enjoy volunteering for NARA’s public efforts. For the past two years, I have volunteered for the NARA tent at Maryland Day which is great fun for me as a University of Maryland alumnus. I also recently volunteered for NARA’s Fourth of July celebrations, which entailed marching in the parade. It was awesome to be part of the national parade and represent our agency. From the crowd response, a lot of people love NARA!
What are your passions or interests outside of work?
I enjoy outdoor activities, namely skateboarding, kayaking, hiking, and camping.
What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?
The last book I loved was “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. As into history as I am, I read mostly literature in my free time. However, the occasional history book finds its way into my hands.
Meet more NARA employees: http://www.archives.gov/careers/employees/