FEBRUARY: Preserving Black Histories
A retelling the story of historical preservation: examine whose stories, histories, and legacies have been excluded, erased, and/or buried, focusing on Black Americans, Georgians, and Atlantans. We will center narratives of resistance through eradication, highlighting the truth-tellers and those who are keeping the cultural traditions, knowledge, and celebrations of Black communities alive.
February Events and Resources on Preserving Black Histories
Educational Social Media Posts Part 1
To put things into context, we’re talking about preserving Black histories this February.
This month, we will be retelling the story of historical preservation. We will examine whose stories, histories, and legacies have been excluded, erased, and/or buried, focusing on Black Americans, Georgians, and Atlantans.
Engaging with histories of Black Americans include interrogating different cultural artifacts such as fashion, food, prominent locations, all types of contributions, and prevalent stories.
We will also center narratives of resistance through attempted eradication, highlighting the truth-tellers and those who are keeping the cultural traditions, knowledge, and celebrations of Black communities alive.
While we aim to honor and preserve the past, we must also continue the fight to create space for Black joy, creation, healing, and success.
Did you know...
"For more than a century, the city of Atlanta has been associated with black achievement in education, business, politics, media, and music, earning it the nickname "the black Mecca." Atlanta's long tradition of black education dates back to Reconstruction, and produced an elite that flourished in spite of Jim Crow, rose to leadership during the civil rights movement, and then took power in the 1970s by building a coalition between white progressives, business interests, and black Atlantans.
But as Maurice J. Hobson demonstrates, Atlanta's political leadership--from the election of Maynard Jackson, Atlanta's first black mayor, through the city's hosting of the 1996 Olympic Games--has consistently mishandled the black poor. Drawn from vivid primary sources and unnerving oral histories of working-class city-dwellers and hip-hop artists from Atlanta's underbelly, Hobson argues that Atlanta's political leadership has governed by bargaining with white business interests to the detriment of ordinary black Atlantans. In telling this history through the prism of the black New South and Atlanta politics, policy, and pop culture, Hobson portrays a striking schism between the black political elite and poor city-dwellers, complicating the long-held view of Atlanta as a mecca for black people."
If you are interested in reading more, consider renting/purchasing the book that this excerpt is from: The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta by Maurice J. Hobson.
Famous Black history sites and landmarks on Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue include: Apex Museum; Auburn Avenue Research Library; Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park; The King Center; Atlanta Daily World; Ebenezer Baptist Church; Big Bethel AME Church; Wheat Street Baptist Church; Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Prince Hall Masonic Temple; John Wesley Dobbs Monument; Madam C.J. Walker Museum; The Royal Peacock; Municipal Market; and Atlanta Life Financial Group.
Below is a list of Instagrams to visit to learn more about the preservation of Black histories, stories, and truths. These resources are by no means exhaustive, but they are a wonderful starting place to gain more knowledge.
CONTEXT: Preserving Black Histories Feb 19th @ 11 AM EST
This month, join the Inclusion, Advocacy and Support Programs as we reflect on the legacies of Black leaders, celebrate Black heritage, and consider how histories are preserved and who is keeping Black cultural narratives and knowledge alive.
Historic Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 70,000 individuals who left their mark on Atlanta. Many legacies are celebrated, such as Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African American mayor, and Selena Sloan Butler, founder of the first Black parent-teacher association in the nation. Other narratives lie buried among the graves waiting to be revealed. Explore legacies of achievement and efforts to preserve Black narratives during this presentation from Historic Oakland Foundation educator, Marcy Breffle. Storyteller LaDoris Bias-Davis will bring these narratives further to life, retelling folktales and sharing songs of jubilation of the Gullah/Geechee culture; descendants of the coasts of West and Central Africa, merged together during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
LaDoris Bias-Davis, DBA The Story Express, is a Professional Storyteller, workshop facilitator, Educator/Consultant. With a BA in Speech & Theater and MS in Early Childhood Education, she has engaged audiences of many ages in the U.S. and Internationally for twenty five + years. Her programs promote literacy, diversity, multi-ethnic cultures appreciation via folk-tales, historical portraits, personal stories, and more. Proud to be born into a loving family of 13, she believes storytelling releases the power of the mind and nurtures the human spirit.
Marcy Breffle oversees educational programming at Historic Oakland Cemetery, developing programs for visitors of all ages and backgrounds that explore a range of topics and issues. Oakland Cemetery is a 48-acre community park, an outdoor gallery of funerary art, and the final resting place for 70,000 people – a multifaceted space with multiple connection points for thousands of visitors. Since coming to work at Oakland in 2015, Marcy has developed a number of programs to expand Oakland’s reach into the Atlanta community, including an annual Juneteenth celebration, photography workshops, a homeschool program, and after-hours thematic tours. She studied history at the University of Georgia and received a graduate degree in public history from Georgia State University.
Selected Bibliography from LaDoris Bias-Davis
- Gullah Folktales from the Georgia Coast by Charles C. Jones, Jr.
- God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee Talks About Life on Sapelo Island, Georgia by Cornelia W. Bailey
- Bo Rabbit Smart for True. Tall Tales from the Gullah by Priscilla Joaquith and Ed Young