ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 1, 2005) -- Ohio University's Department of African American Studies recently received more than $50,000 in contributions from Wayne National Forest and the 1804 Fund. The money will be used to continue the department's investigation into the African American presence in the Ohio River Valley and Ohio's role in the Underground Railroad. "These are under-studied areas," said Vibert Cambridge, chair of the Department of African American Studies.
Ohio University's Department of African American Studies and the Multicultural Genealogical Center received a $30,000 joint grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Wayne National Forest to continue their work on Ohio's role in the Underground Railroad.
Last year, the department received an $18,000 grant from Wayne National Forest to conduct an inventory of information about the region's history and its contemporary characteristics.
The money from this year's grant, Cambridge said, will be used to conduct oral histories regarding two known Underground Railroad stations in the area.
"Now that we have seen what we got, we need to go to the next phase, which is to capture reflections and memories from the community," he said.
The Department of African American Studies and the Department of Social Work received a $23,000 grant from the 1804 Fund to conduct further research regarding Ohio's role in the Underground Railroad.
The Department of African American Studies is using the money to develop a series of workshops to train community members and Ohio University students at regional campuses on conducting oral interviews. The interviews will focus on the presence of African Americans in the Ohio River Valley and the Underground Railroad in Ohio.
"It's not only the historical knowledge we want to share, we also want to draw attention to the contemporary challenges facing African-American communities," Cambridge said.
The workshops will take place fall and winter quarters and are expected to be completed by summer 2006.
The Department of African-American Studies and the Multicultural Genealogical Center also will continue to play a large role in the annual Community and Campus Weekend. This year's weekend takes place Nov. 3-5.
"The aim is to have students and their parents go out and join the community," Cambridge said.
For more information, contact the Department of African American Studies at (740) 593-4546.
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