MOUNT VERNON — Since 1993, Kenyon College professor Ric Sheffield and his students have worked with members of the community to collect information, photographs, and artifacts on black history within Knox County. With many projects along the way, including the “Community Within” black history book and the exhibit at the Knox County Historical Society and Museum, the digital archives presented on Saturday at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County was a climactic achievement for many years of effort and dedication in preserving history.
“This is not the end,” said Sheffield. “This is a dynamic living project that, if we are all lucky, will continue when we are not around.”
The digital archives are an extraordinary resource for the community, Sheffield said. They are accessible on the Internet at http://communitywithin.kenyon.edu. Guests can visit the archives and search information by topic or keyword which will bring up pictures, research information, newspaper articles, and for some searches, recorded interviews. Visitors to the website can also browse the collection of information.
“This is not just an accomplishment and resource for the black community, it is a resource for Knox County, black and white,” said Sheffield.
“It has been very rewarding to be able to work on this project and to learn things about significant people that no one has ever heard of,” said Cuy Sheffield, summer research assistant from Pomona College. “It’s unfortunate that there have been black people in the community that have made great contributions to our society that haven’t been recognized. I’ve enjoyed attempting to get their names out there and to give them credit for all the work they have done.”
Stellar Naull, a sophomore at Kenyon College and a summer research assistant, had a wonderful experience working on the Community Within project.