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The presentation Sunday at Stratton Center about the bits and pieces of recorded African-American history in Shelby County is the wonderful culmination of a long-since-due step in preserving that piece of our ancestral pie.
We often feel that much of the story of African-Americans in the nearly 221 years of Shelby County are lost in the anecdotes and in the dwindling in the memories of a few in our county. There are so many rich stories that we fear would be lost, if not for the dedication of the volunteers from the Shelby County Historical Society.
It is that group that spearheaded a well-attended exhibit on Sunday, in celebration of Black History Month nationally, that seemed a sure first step in what needs to be an ever-growing process.
We like that so many contributed, too, with artifacts and recorded oral histories, so that there becomes a more permanent record of what our older residents knew and how they knew it.
Organizers were beaming at the outcome of this first event, and we hope that such encouragement will be the spark that gets others involved in this process and helps us make this bigger and better.
Someday, we would like to see a space dedicated to African-American history – either a new wing of the existing history center or a new building altogether – filled with the sort of presentations and icons that attract visitors and command attention.
Someday, we would like to see an award named for a principal in the African-American community that honors a student or resident who takes a significant step in enhancing the preservation of that history.
Someday, we would like to see a scholarship in African-American studies presented to a student from Shelby County.
And, someday, sooner rather than later, we would like to see this single-afternoon event expanded into a full-scale, weekend-long program for the public and for students, held in the new City Center that would be built in downtown Shelbyville.
Yes, we have this dream for someday, when it is realized, we will look back to a single afternoon in February 2013 as the beginning.
We dream that in that first great step, we may have seen a piece of history all its own.