Before I left the National Trust last October, I was the director of the Interpreting African American Historic Places Project, an experimental initiative funded by the Ford Foundation. One of the elements was a grant program for collaborative projects between universities and historic sites to improve interpretation of African American history and culture through historic places and for a few years, the National Trust supported some amazing projects that are now just beginning to bear fruit.
One of the most interesting projects was the interpretation of the infamous Scottsboro Boys Trials of the 1930s by the New College at the University of Alabama and the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center. Ellen Griffith Spears and Shelia Washington initially sought to mark a few sites related to the trial in Scottsboro, but after some discussions with them, broadened their scope to look at all the places that were associated with this major civil rights event, providing a geographic context that’s often overlooked. They’ve just shared with me Continue reading