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Oral histories of African-Americans now online

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SOURCE: Associated Press

The public can now listen to stories of segregation, community life and other issues important to Springfield’s African-American community simply by logging onto a computer.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has put the oral histories online through a partnership with the Springfield African American History Foundation.

State historian Tom Schwartz says the Lincoln Library is trying to tell the larger story of Illinois, not just the life of the 16th president. He says the oral histories help listeners understand the lives of African-Americans and the contributions they have made to Illinois.

There currently are 15 interviews online, and more will be added as they are transcribed.

They touch on topics from family life to discrimination to the 1908 Springfield Race Riots.

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Online: http://www.alplm.org/oral_history/african_american/african_american_history.html

 

Written by Symphony

December 10, 2010 at 9:13 am

Muskegon Heights African-American museum expanding

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By Clayton Hardiman, MLive.com

In the building at Peck Street and Center Avenue, opposite Muskegon Heights City Hall, the past is gaining a future.

Alongside the building, a new addition has sprung up. When it opens officially, probably some time in December, visitors will find new exhibit space, a small auditorium and multimedia enhancements.

Board members of the Muskegon County Museum of African American History say the $110,000 addition will help them fulfill their mission of recounting history and paying tribute to the lives of giants.

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Written by Symphony

December 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Smithsonian has a look at African-American heirlooms

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By Gina Damron, Detroit Free Press

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Save Our African American Treasures initiative made a stop in Detroit on Saturday.

Area residents were able consult with experts on how to maintain and preserve their artifacts and prized heirlooms. James Gordon, public affairs specialist with the museum, said the initiative has been held across the country and the Detroit event, at the Detroit Public Library’s Main Branch, was the eighth stop.

Shirley Burke of West Bloomfield brought in a fiddle, believed to be 150 years old, that belonged to her great-grandfather, who she said received it from his slaveholder in Arkansas. She is interested in donating the instrument to the museum.

“It doesn’t help or serve any purposes to have it in the closet,” Burke said.

Written by Symphony

December 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

Historian Will Direct Schomburg Center in Harlem

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By Felicia R. Lee, NY Times

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a history professor at Indiana University, has been named the new director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, to begin in July. New York Public Library officials made the announcement on Wednesday, ending a sometimes contentious search.

Dr. Muhammad, 38, will succeed Howard Dodson Jr., 71, who in April announced his plan to retire after leading the Schomburg, a research library within the city public library system, since 1984. Under Mr. Dodson’s leadership the Schomburg’s holdings of artifacts related to the global black experience doubled to 10 million items from 5 million. Mostly recently the center acquired the papers of Maya Angelou, a collection that joined treasures like a rare recording of a Marcus Garvey speech and documents signed by Toussaint L’Ouverture. Under Mr. Dodson visitors to the Schomburg Center, at 515 Lenox Avenue, at 135th Street, in Harlem, tripled to about 120,000 people annually.

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African-American workers were key to Atlantic City’s success, new book argues

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By Chuck Darrow, Philadelphia Inquirer

WHEN IT comes to the history of Atlantic City, Nelson Johnson literally sees things in black and white.

Johnson, an Atlantic County Superior Court judge from Hammonton, N.J., is the author of Boardwalk Empire, which plotted Atlantic City’s storied tale by focusing on the white power structure from the town’s founding in 1854 through the current casino era. The chapter about early-20th-century political and underworld boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson was the inspiration for the HBO series of the same name.

Tomorrow, Medford, N.J.-based Plexus Publishing releases Johnson’s The Northside, a parallel history of AyCee’s African-American community.

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Written by Symphony

November 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

African American World War II veterans share stories of war amidst segregation

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By Pamela McLoughlin, Journal Register Staff

Among the shrinking pool of World War II veterans still alive is a group with two war stories to tell.

One is about patriotism, dedication and becoming war heroes. The other is of doing the same thing, but in a segregated military where black troops fought in different units than white troops, with whites at the highest ranks, even though their blood spilled the same.

The Greater New Haven branch of the NAACP will honor black World War II veterans from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at a Veterans Day program at Criterion Cinemas, 86 Temple St. For tickets, call the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People office at 203-389-7275 or e-mail info@naacpnewhaven.org. Tickets are $25

In addition, the NAACP will showcase an oral history project, featuring the veterans, created by Hillhouse High School.

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Sign dedication honors African-American Morris Canal Boat Captain James Campbell

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By Jocelynn Thomas, NJ.com

The Morris Canal Committee, in conjunction with The Campbell Cultural Heritage House Inc., held a kiosk and sign dedication ceremony commemorating the life of Morris Canal Boat Captain James Campbell, on Oct. 17 at Warren County Community College.

Born in 1856, James Elliot Campbell, or “Poppa” as his family called him, became one of only a small percentage of African-American boat captains on the Morris Canal at the age of 15, following in the footsteps of previous family members, also Boatmen. In 1889, Campbell purchased his home for $167.98, serving as the family residence throughout his career of 40 plus years. Adjacent to the home was a large barn with a haymow where mules were kept readily available for borrowing or short periods of rest. Remains of this early canal community can still be seen on the west end of North Lincoln Avenue in Washington, in close proximity to Mt. Pisgah AME Church, once the place of worship for Campbell and his family, and continues as such today for surviving relatives. His home stands as a symbol of his legacy as a duty-bound family man, provider and citizen, his undaunted spirit, perseverance and strong work ethic. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

October 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Posted in history, Honors

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