Friday, June 19, 2009

Community History Internship update

This week, from up here in Concord, Massachusetts, I've continued to 'co-supervise' at long distance the six community history interns down in Covington, Georgia, while Forrest Sawyer has been doing the on-site supervision. I'm really pleased at how quickly the interns have learned their way around the wiki of the African American Historical Association of Newton County--they've been updating news links and putting in historical materials on sports (including African-American women's sports in the county history). Guided by Mr. Bob Halcums and Ms. Jane Williams at the Newton County Public Library, they've been pursuing genealogical research on their own kin in the County. Yesterday, they mapped out the gravesites in the historically African-American section of the Covington City Cemetery, which date back to the late 1800s; they evidently uncovered one Masonic headstone, marked with the distinctive Masonic chains. Today, the plan is for them to map the more recent Westside cemetery on the other side of Covington.

Ellen and I are driving down to Georgia this weekend and I'll get a chance to start working with the youth on Monday. I'm pretty sure we'll concentrate on video and multimedia projects. We'll start on brief YouTube videos on the two Covington cemeteries, and perhaps include the Oxford cemetery as well. Ideally, older community members will be able to take some walks through the cemteries sharing their memories of those who are laid to rest there, and reflecting on the history of segregation in these sites. I expect the interns will video some walks with civil rights movement veterans through the Covington square, as they recall the days of struggle.

We'll also try to do some digitial slide shows on local family history, incorporating old family photographs and archival documents to tell various kinds of stories about local history and memory. We might pay a visit to Monroe and the Moore's Ford bridge site to document some of the forms of continuing 'memory work' in reference to the July 1946 mass lynching, in which four persons were killed.

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