More exhibits needed for African American celebration
by Hawkins Teague
Jul 18, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Trigg County African American Historical Preservation Society is still in need of artifacts for its downtown exhibit commemorating the emancipation of slaves during the Civil War. The exhibit is set to open sometime in August.

Although a specific date has yet been set, Baker-Wharton said it would open sometime in the middle of August at 16 Court St., which is the empty office building owned by H.B. Quinn on the corner of Court and Jefferson Street. Emancipation Day is traditionally celebrated on Aug. 8 in some parts of Kentucky and the South because that is the day that the slaves were said to have received the good news about the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the upcoming exhibit probably will not feature any items directly related to emancipation in Trigg County, its goal will be to focus on general African-American history in the area.

TCAAHPS president Betty Baker-Wharton said that the exhibit is coming together quite nicely. Nancy J. Dawson, who is constructing the exhibit, said they are looking for any artifacts that show something about African American life in Trigg County between 1856 and 1912. Close to 4,000 African-Americans lived in the county at that time, and the exhibit will look at where and how they lived, she said. Dawson is an African-American research consultant who has developed exhibits in Logan County and other places around the state. She also used to be the director of black studies at Austin Peay University.

People are welcome to bring any item that they think will be appropriate, but they encouraging a few specific items as well. These items include: an old church pew, an old family Bible, old clothes of any type, school supplies, an old piano or organ, a fiddle, a banjo, a harmonica, old maps, tobacco equipment, Civil War relics, guns, knives, documents, uniforms, iron furnace artifacts, a pot belly stove, old photographs, and also kitchen supplies such as iron kettles, canning and flour sacks.

Baker-Wharton said there would be displays related to farm life, home life and kitchen utensils. She said that several items have been collected to tell about the life of Dr. Wenell Holmes McRidley, who was once a prominent member of the Trigg County African American community. She said that she contributed a book called “How to Conduct Business” that was published in 1892 and was owned by her great-grandfather. She also also had a dictionary that her mother owned, which was published in 1842.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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