Many sto­ries fi­nally get­ting told

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS -

lived her whole life in the city, can still clearly re­mem­ber what life was like for black res­i­dents in the county in the day’s of share­crop­ping and Jim Crow. Wil­liams re­calls at­tend­ing school at the all-black Wash­ing­ton Street School where school chil­dren would share to­gether old di­lap­i­dated text­books handed down to them from the white schools.

“Th­ese are things that young blacks need to be ed­u­cated about,” said Wil­liams, a teacher re­tired from Fic­quett El­e­men­tary School and the great grand­daugh­ter of the Rev. Toney Baker who founded the first black church in the county — Beth­le­hem Bap­tist Church.

Ac­cord­ing to Sawyer, Wil­liams has been a great as­set to the or­ga­ni­za­tion, fill­ing in gaps of knowl­edge and help­ing to edit the Web site’s con­tent.

Wil­liams said she hopes the as­so­ci­a­tion can ed­u­cate the chil­dren of the county who wouldn’t oth­er­wise have a par­ent fig­ure present in their lives to teach them about their her­itage and his­tory.

“Chil­dren now don’t have any­body,” Wil­liams said. “They don’t have a fig­ure that they can look up to and that wor­ries me.”

For Sawyer, the con­tri­bu­tions from young peo­ple in the com­mu­nity will be in­stru­men­tal in car­ry­ing on the mis­sion of the African-Amer­i­can His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

“We didn’t record our his­tory years ago,” said Sawyer. “We are in a po­si­tion now to record our his­tory.”

Word has al­ready got­ten out about the new site said Sawyer, adding that he has been very grat­i­fied to have been con­tacted by so many mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, both black and white, who are in­ter­ested in join­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion and con­tribut­ing to its mis­sion.

“It’s go­ing to be an as­set, not only to the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity but to the en­tire Cov­ing­ton, New­ton County, Mansfield, Ox­ford, New­born, Por­terdale com­mu­nity,” said Sawyer of the Web site.

While the his­tor­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tion is still find­ing its feet (the or­ga­ni­za­tion ex­pects to re­ceive its 501(c) 3 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in the com­ing weeks), ad­di­tional projects are in the works said Sawyer. Fu­ture en­deav­ors of the or­ga­ni­za­tion in­clude the de­vel­op­ment of books, pam­phlets, news­let­ters, ex­hi­bi­tions, driv­ing and walk­ing tours, his­tor­i­cal mark­ers and elec­tronic me­dia broad­casts to fur­ther the dis­sem­i­na­tion of in­for­ma­tion about black his­tory and cul­ture in the county.

The African-Amer­i­can His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion en­cour­ages peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds to par­tic­i­pate in re­search­ing and shar­ing their knowl­edge of black his­tory with the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion also seeks to work closely with lo­cal ed­u­ca­tors to teach the county’s youth about black her­itage and to spon­sor con­fer­ences, work­shops and com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tions about black his­tory, her­itage and ge­neal­ogy in the county.

As part of the African-Amer­i­can His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion’s work, Sawyer said he is work­ing to bring com­mu­nity lead­ers and ed­u­ca­tors onto his weekly hour­long ra­dio show “Thy Brother’s and Sis­ter’s Keeper,” which airs at 3 p.m. on Sun­days on ra­dio sta­tion 1430 WGFS AM, Cov­ing­ton.

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