Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Black History

 by Charlotte Hinger

Wall Hanging by Kyle Odum

I'm on the board of directors for the Nicodemus Historical Society. I know a lot about Nicodemus, Kansas. Oklahoma University Press published my academic book about the town, and Five Star published a novel centered on this historic settlement. Last summer I attended the annual Homecoming Event and purchased this wall hanging made one of the descendants, Kyle Odum.

Nicodemus was the first black town on the High Plains after the Civil War. I maintain that it was the first time in American history that African American dictated political decisions to the surrounding white community. 

BlackPast is the finest resource I know for learning about black history. So what does it take to create such a wonderful site? A really big need. Dr. Quintard Taylor at the University of Washington saw a need and devised a plan to fill the hole. Before BlackPast there was no single central location on the internet that collected comprehensive accurate material about African Americans and people of African ancestry.

I refer to Dr. Taylor as the "major god of blacks in the West." In every field there is always someone regarded as the ultimate authority. Taylor is tops when it comes to African history. BlackPast received immediate support.

The site began in 2004. In the summer of 2005 Dr. Taylor received a U.S. State Department-sponsored invitation to visit the Russian cities of Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Tyumen, Ishim, and Surgut to give lectures at various universities and institutes. That 14 day tour was initiated by the discovery of the faculty website by students at Urals State University in Yekaterinburg, Siberia.

This online reference center includes an online encyclopedia of nearly 3,000 entries, the complete transcript of nearly 300 speeches by African Americans, other people of African ancestry, and those concerned about race, given between 1789 and 2014, over 140 full text primary documents, bibliographies, timelines and six gateway pages with links to digital archive collections, African and African American museums and research centers, genealogical research websites, and more than 200 other website resources on African American and global African history.

I've done a number of entries for BlackPast. I feel honored anytime I'm asked to contribute.

I don't know any meta site in the mystery field. Sometimes I feel as those of us in the mystery field could use a place that is sort of a mystery central where ideas are gathered in one place.


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