The 14th Street Community Center has joined with Shawnee State University’s Digital History Lab to help celebrate and preserve local black history in Portsmouth and Scioto County.
According to Maureen Cadogan for the 14th Street, Dr. Andrew Feight at Shawnee State University has been creative in the past several years in coming up with what she said were some great ideas and enlightenment to help celebrate Black History Month.
This year, they have planned an afternoon of displays and presentations on African American history and culture.
Feight, the director of the Digital History Lab and the developer of the Scioto Historical Mobile App project, will discuss the latest research into the history of the civil rights struggle in Portsmouth, Ohio. From the days of the Underground Railroad through the campaign to end segregation in the 1950s and 60s, Feight’s presentation will discuss the lab’s development of a historical tour of the North End.
The event is at 14th Street Community Center Sunday, Feb. 16, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“This year, we will be focusing on some of the issues that used to face Washington School, things that we may or may not as a community remember,” Cadogan said. “His digital lab is going to have old pictures and African displays, and we have an African American mobile museum that has relics from our past.”
The Booker T. Washington School in Portsmouth was built in 1927 and closed in 1965. On the website, Oldohioschools.com it said the school was built in 1927 as an addition to the 11th Street School that stood directly beside it. The school was deemed the “colored” school until 1956, at which time schools were desegregated.
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born into slavery and rose to become a leading African American intellectual of the 19 century, founding Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (Now Tuskegee University) in 1881 and the National Negro Business League two decades later.
Another thing that people may remember about the Washington School was that during the 1937 flood, it was at first being used as a safe house, but as the water continued to come, they had to evacuate the refugees and this was where the flood victim Bessie Tomlin was being evacuated and a splash startled one of the occupants, a 22-year-old African American named Bessie Tomlin, who stood up from her seat, making the boat unstable and she drown.
Along with the presentation and displays, Cadogan said guests will be able to enjoy refreshments in the style of soul food. The event is free and open to the public and everyone is welcome.
For more information, or to arrange for a display of items, please contact Maureen Cadogan (740-353-4085) or Dr. Andrew Feight (740-351-3143).
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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