Thomas University begins project documenting Thomas County’s African-American experiencePost Published On:
Thanks to a generous donation from the Williams Family Foundation of Georgia, Thomas University will soon begin a research project documenting the lives and accomplishments of African-American Thomas County citizens from 1900 to 1970.
“At Thomas University, we understand the importance of documenting history for the generations to come,” said Dr. John Meis, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “One of the best ways to do that is through recording interviews with people who actually experienced those moments in history. We want to preserve those memories and honor the people who were part of creating that history.”
To conduct this project, TU will begin searching for a research professor who will work with a team of select undergraduate students recording oral histories and collecting documents from that time period. The project will begin by focusing on Thomasville’s Magnolia High School, which will lead to the creation of a Hall of Fame honoring outstanding community members connected to the school. The Magnolia High School Hall of Fame will be housed on TU’s Magnolia Campus, which was the location of the former Magnolia High School.
“Since Thomas University purchased the former Magnolia High School property in 2010 and then renovated the campus, we’ve enjoyed a very close relationship with the members of the Magnolia Alumni Association,” Meis said. “We want TU students to be aware of the history contained in the halls of the building where they attended classes every day. It’s important for our students to understand the educational history of the community in which they currently reside. This hall of fame will provide that historical knowledge and pay tribute to the people who helped shape Thomas County into the amazing community that it is today.”
Students selected to work on this project will learn how to record history by working directly with participants and engaging in the documentation process. They will gain experience with research, writing and interpersonal skills that can be used in numerous career fields.
Even though the initial phase of the project will focus on Magnolia High School alumni, later phases will expand to other groups within Thomas County to provide a more holistic picture of the African-American experience within the local community during the first 70 years of the 20th century.
“The first part of the 20th century was a period of significant change for the African-American community and for American culture in general,” Meis said. “We’re fortunate to be able to preserve the experiences of those who lived through those changes here in Thomasville. This project will be a great way for our students to gain hands-on practice in obtaining primary sources of information as part of their own educational journey at TU.”
To learn more about the position for Research Professor of African-American History, visit www.thomasu.edu/about/employment.