Calloway County Public Library is receiving a project grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission to conduct interviews documenting the county’s African American communities.
Library director Mignon Reed will guide the project. Civic journalist and past president of the Kentucky Historical Society governing board, Constance Alexander, will serve as an advisor.
The project will emphasize the importance of acknowledging the challenges and contributions associated with African Americans in Calloway County. The title of the grant is, “Entwined in Joy & Sorrow, Work & Play.” It is named after a line from one of the senior class poems of Douglass School, an African American institution in Calloway County from the Jim Crow Era until desegregation.
The process entails identifying potential interviewees, training interviewers, conducting at least 25 interviews, and tracking relevant documentation.
Reed said the timing of the grant will enrich the diversity of Calloway County’s bicentennial celebration in 2022.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to honor the voices of the past and present by conducting these oral history interviews,” Reed said. “We are especially pleased that the timing of this grant will enrich the diversity of Calloway County’s bicentennial celebration in 2022.”
Matching funds for the grant have been pledged by Murray State University’s Town & Gown, Calloway County Genealogical and Historical Society, Randy Patterson, Jackson Purchase Historical Society, Douglass School Reunion Committee, Dr. Bonnie Higginson and Cliff Higginson, Carrie McGinnis and Tim McGinnis.
Friends of the Calloway County Public Library offered to purchase the recording equipment for oral histories. In their letter the Friends group wrote, “We believe this project speaks to the values of diversity and inclusion and are glad to offer our support.”
For more information, contact Reed at email@example.com, or Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org. The library is located at 710 Main Street, Murray, Ky. The phone number is 270-753-2288.