Project to preserve African-American heritage items, stories asks for Ozarks submissions

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Residents of southwest Missouri with photographs, letters, pamphlets and other artifacts related to African-American history are wanted.

The State Historical Society of Missouri put out a call for individuals to bring the personal and family items to a free digitization event.

The free event is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri. It is located 65 miles west of Springfield in Newton County.

Gary R. Kremer, executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and Haley Frizzle-Green, SHSMO archivist, interview Charlotte Hardin at Benton Avenue AME Church in Springfield, April 21, 2022.
Gary R. Kremer, executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and Haley Frizzle-Green, SHSMO archivist, interview Charlotte Hardin at Benton Avenue AME Church in Springfield, April 21, 2022.

Residents of Newton, Jasper, McDonald, Barry, Barton and Dade counties — and others living in the southwest part of the state — are invited.

“By participating, residents will not only be advised on the best practices for protecting these materials, but also offered the opportunity to digitize and preserve them as part of the larger African American Heritage in the Ozarks Project,” said Sean Rost, oral historian and project lead, in a news release.

Families will be able to submit their items to be digitized, and preserved, and they will also receive complimentary copies of their digital files.

They will also be asked to record an interview with an oral historian about their items, community history and genealogy.

The project is funded by an American Rescue Plan grant through National Endowment for the Humanities and Missouri Humanities. It aims to accomplish the following:

  • Gather and organize an ample collection of sources related to African-American life,

  • Provide public programming in multiple Ozarks communities,

  • Develop physical and digital exhibits

  • Preserve the voice and memories related to traditions, genealogy and firsthand accounts of the people who lived in the region.

The event is free, but registration is required: https://shsmo.org/events/2022/ozarks-swmo-digitization

Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to criley@news-leader.com.

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Project to preserve African-American heritage seeks local submissions