State Historical Society of Missouri to Host Digitization Event in Southwest Missouri

(Columbia, MO) – The State Historical Society of Missouri is hosting a free digitization event on Saturday, August 20 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on African American life in the Ozarks region.

Presented in partnership with the SHSMO Springfield Research Center and the George Washington Carver National Monument, archivists will be available to digitize photographs, letters, pamphlets, postcards, and other materials that speak to African American heritage in the region. Guests will be provided complimentary copies of their digital files. Attendees will also have the opportunity to record an interview with an oral historian about their items, community history, and genealogy.

The event begins at 10:00 am at George Washington Carver National Monument. Residents of Newton, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Barry, Barton, and Dade counties, as well as points throughout the southwestern Ozarks, are invited. The event is free, but registration is required. To register, click here.

“By participating, residents will not only be advised on the best practices for protecting these materials, but also offered the opportunity to digitize and preserve them as part of the larger African American Heritage in the Ozarks Project,” said Sean Rost, oral historian and project lead.

Funded by an American Rescue Plan grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities and Missouri Humanities, the project aims to gather and organize an ample collection of primary and secondary sources related to African American life, provide public programming in multiple communities in the Ozarks, develop physical and digital exhibits, and preserve the voices and memories related to traditions, genealogy, and firsthand accounts of the people who have lived in the region.

In June, project staff published an interactive online map, Emancipation Day in the Missouri Ozarks, which explores the significance of Juneteenth and Emancipation Day with a digital trip through counties that dot the Missouri Ozarks while detailing the origins and history of emancipation and the celebrations of Black Missourians after their fight for abolition. View the map here.

To explore more resources on African American history in Missouri, visit the Society’s research guide here.


Christina George, Senior Strategic Communications Associate
State Historical Society of Missouri

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