Dole Institute of Politics awards 2023 archives research grants

August 31, 2023 - News

LAWRENCE – The Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archive and Special Collections at the Dole Institute of Politics has awarded two 2023 research grants. Dr. Michael Fortner has been selected for the Dole Archives Research Fellowship and Raina Hackett has been awarded a Travel Grant.

The Dole Archives Research Fellowship is an annual $3,000 award to support substantial research projects requiring the use of the Dole Archives. Dr. Fortner, an Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, was selected for his project, “Crack Cocaine and Congressional Leadership in the War on Drugs,” which explores the goals and intentions of Members of Congress in their drafting of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. His research will further his current book manuscript, Crack: A Tragedy in Three Acts, about the origins and consequences of the “crack epidemic” of the late 1980s.

“[My] questions and methodology are not only focused on the U.S. Congress, but explicitly on the actions, views, and papers of congressional leaders, particularly Senator Dole, a primary sponsor of the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act,” said Fortner, who will visit sometime during the 2023-24 award year to conduct archival research. “Moreover, Crack: A Tragedy in Three Acts will advance the public understanding of the U.S. Congress and its role in the ‘war on drugs.’ [This fellowship] will support research… that will fundamentally revise extant accounts of this campaign, while contributing to an ongoing and critical policy debate over crime and public safety.”

Fortner is the author of Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment (Harvard University Press, 2015), examining the rise of Black anti-crime activism in New York City and its impact on the passage of the Rockefeller drug laws. His scholarly articles on African Americans and crime policy development appear in Studies in American Political Development, Journal of Policy History, and Urban Affairs Review. He has also recently been published in The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

“Being able to learn from congressional archive collections is crucial to our democracy,” said Dole Institute Senior Archivist and Head of Collections Sarah Gard. “These collections show how public policy and legislation is developed, tell the diverse stories of Americans, and provide insight into how the U.S. Congress works as one of our three branches of government.”

Congressional archives are geographically dispersed throughout the country, which makes visiting them more difficult. The intent of Dole Archives Travel Grants is to ease the financial burden of visiting researchers. Ms. Hackett received a $1,000 travel grant for her project, “Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and the Expansion of Food Assistance – An Intersectional Analysis of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).”

Hackett is a graduate student in sociology at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., as well as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District covering agriculture and nutrition. Hackett’s project aims to retell and further explore the legislative history of the WIC revealing that a key player has been minimized in the history of the WIC program – the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.

“Currently, the WIC program has been thrust into the political spotlight and has been the target of the intense political polarization our country is facing,” said Hackett, who visited the Institute earlier this month. “I will use the archives to not only retell this story of WIC, but also to show how Congresswoman Chisholm and Senator Dole – two politicians on the opposite side of the political spectrum – had a bipartisan relationship that confronted one of the greatest stains on our nation’s conscience, hunger.”

The research grants, established in 2010, intend to foster archival research in the Dole Archives among scholars of all professions and disciplines. Support for the Research Fellowship and travel grants is generously provided by the Friends of the Dole Institute.

There is still travel grant funding available for 2023-24. Visit for more information.

The Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archives and Special Collections is located at the Dole Institute of Politics and is the official repository for the personal papers of former U.S. Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole. The Dole Archives chronicles their lives and achievements. In addition to significant national and international events, the collections provide a window into the inner workings of congressional leadership, the U.S. government, and policy development in wide-ranging areas like disability rights, agriculture, nutrition, veterans, U.S. foreign policy, and transportation safety. As historian emeritus of the U.S. House of Representatives Raymond Smock has said, our country’s congressional collections reflect not just the leadership, but “the face of America at any given time during the latter half of the 20th century.”

The Dole Institute was dedicated on July 22, 2003, at the University of Kansas on Senator Bob Dole’s 80th birthday. Home to the personal archives of both Senator Bob and Senator Elizabeth Dole, with a museum facility on par with the U.S. Presidential libraries, the Dole Institute has been a vibrant political forum promoting civil discourse, civic engagement, and idea exchange across the political spectrum for 20 years.

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