Newly formed group seeks members
by Hawkins Teague
Aug 16, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
George Sholar is afraid that if something isn’t done soon, Trigg County’s black population may lose much of its history forever. He recently started the Trigg County African-American Historical Society in an effort to document and save this legacy from being forgotten.

Sholar, who grew up out on Princeton Road, can and will talk for days about the black men and women in the county’s past. One man he discusses at length is Wendell Holmes McRidley. McRidley was the pastor of the Cadiz Second Baptist Church in the late 19th century. He also started the Cadiz Normal and Theological Institute in 1884. The school’s catalogue of 1891 stated that the school aimed to “educate preachers and teachers who are not able to make long expensive trips to acquire education elsewhere.”

McRidley was also a lawyer and publisher. He was responsible for two black newspapers, Sholar said. They were the Cadiz Informer and the Cadiz Christian Informer.

McRidley’s story is only one of many that Sholar wants to tell so urgently. Most people don’t know about the black men from Trigg County who fought in the Civil War. Sholar said there were 300 who fought on the Union side, 40 of them being in the Navy.

Some communities have “Eighth of August Celebrations,” which Sholar said he would like to have next year. This day is to commemorate the day when news got to slaves in Kentucky that they were free. This was more than seven months after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, using his presidential war powers to declare slaves in the Confederate states free.

Although the TCAAHS has only been in existence since June, Sholar has been doing what he can to get the organization off the ground. He is currently living in Shelbyville because his heart and spinal problems require him to drive to Louisville for surgery sometimes.

TCAAHS President Betty Baker Wharton said the group has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start, but that she hopes it can eventually make some kind of difference in preserving history. A few people have shown up to the first couple of meetings, but some haven’t come back.

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