To the Editor:
My name is Zoe Dennhardt and I will be working with Grace Moses on our periodic letters to the editor. These letters will update the community about racial justice work in the area. While Grace is focused on the broad mission and function of the Corbin Racial Justice Initiative, I am working on a smaller project recording oral histories of African Americans in southeastern Kentucky.
I am a senior African and African-American Studies major at Berea College from Dayton, Ohio, specifically interested in archival work — especially genealogies and family histories. I am partnering with the University of Kentucky’s Special Collections Archives and the UKY Appalachian Center this summer on what we’re calling the African American Experience in Southeastern Kentucky. This project seeks to explore, document, and share African American experiences and life-histories in southeastern Kentucky, specifically in Knox, Laurel, Clay, and Whitley Counties. A research team of the project co-directors, community researchers, and project consultants will work together through the Laurel County African American Heritage Center to conduct oral histories, highlighting African-American voices in the community and broadening the narrative about the area’s history.
After these interviews are conducted, they will be processed, indexed, and housed at the University of Kentucky’s Special Collections Archive (Louie B. Nunn Center). You can check out the collection here: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt75jk64d0kpg and our website here: https://www.corbinracialjustice.com/. We hope to include as many African Americans from the area as possible, so if you or anyone you know is interested in sharing their stories, feel free to email us at CorbinRacialJusticeInitiative@gmail.com.