Sepia toned map of Southeast Ohio
Claiming an Education: Early Black American Humanists

The Multicultural Genealogical Center Makes Sure Black History Lives On

Thanks to the work of Ada and Alvin Adams: The Multicultural Genealogical Center in Chesterhill, Ohio, is a major repository for research about Black history in southeastern Ohio. Ada-Woodson Adams, from Nelsonville, Ohio, and her late husband, Alvin C. Adams, were among the many people who co-founded the center to retrieve and preserve documents that might otherwise have been lost or ignored. A graduate of Ohio University and a direct descendant of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, Ada-Woodson Adams was the center’s long-time president and continues to be a prominent spokesperson for the organization. 

Documentation is Preserved: The center’s collections include extensive documentation about area Black men who served in the Civil War and materials about the region’s Melungeon population (persons of mixed Black, white, and Native American ancestry). The center is also home to the Perdreau Research Collection, a wide-ranging compilation of documents, census records, oral histories, and other Black history materials collected by Connie Perdreau and her husband, Michel. 


Lynching of Christopher Davis plaque
A marker on the Ohio University campus ensures that the community remembers the lynching of Christopher Davis.

And Lost Stories Can Be Told: Materials from the Multicultural Genealogical Center were instrumental in creating the text for an Equal Justice Initiative marker commemorating the 1881 lynching in Athens of Christopher Davis. Erected in 2020, the marker is located near the site of the young Black man’s murder, outside the fourth-floor entrance of Ohio University’s Baker Center. 

Read more about the Multicultural Genealogical Center.