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History lectures continue

By Staff | Jan 29, 2010

The Jefferson County Historical Society and the Men’s Club of Shepherdstown continues its series of presentations by local experts on aspects of Jefferson County History.

In the fifth of the series, on Feb. 8, the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society (BHPS), will present the second public showing of Road Trip to History African Americans of Jefferson County, West Virginia, a recently released 27-minute video.

Before the showing Mr. Jim Taylor, president of the BHPS, will introduce the video as well as other members of the society in attendance. After the showing, members of the BHPS will entertain questions from the audience. This presentation is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at the War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St., Shepherdstown. It will be preceded at 6 pm by a social hour for members of the BHPS, the Jefferson County Historical Society, and the Men’s Club.

In September 2000, Mr. Taylor, Nathaniel Downing (deceased), George C. Rutherford and James A. Tolbert met to discuss a way to bring to light the significant events in the history of African-Americans that had occurred in Jefferson County. As a result of that meeting they formed the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society (BHPS), whose mission is to research and preserve information about the county’s rich black history.

Over the past 10 years, the Society has created visual exhibits and published several books documenting the County’s rich African-American history. More recently, stimulated by the PBS series “Road Trip to History,” the BHPS contracted with Jefferson County film-maker Wayne Bronson to create a half-hour documentary video featuring Jefferson County’s African-American history, which will also be shown on PBS television stations in Virginia and West Virginia. Much like the “Road Trip” productions of Charles Town and Shepherdstown histories, the black history video will document the many significant events which have occurred in Jefferson County, including Martin Delany’s contributions tothe Civil War (among them he was the first and highest-ranked black field officer in the U.S. Army) and African-American participation in the John Brown raids and the Niagara Movement meetings at Harpers Ferry, which ultimately led to the formation of the NAACP. Mr. Taylor will also discuss the BHPS’s plans for several more research and publications projects including a book on the impact of women on the county’s African-American history and another summarizing a number of interviews with elderly black residents of the county conducted about 20 years ago.

– For more information about the Men’s Club and the Historical Society, please visit http://www.smc25443.org/ and www.jeffersonhistoricalwv.org.