Jefferson County Black history featured in documentary
December 8, 2009 ·
Viewers of the PBS series Road Trip to History can get a preview of an upcoming show that features Jefferson County’s African American history on Sunday when the half-hour documentary premieres in Charles Town.
The Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society has
documented the County’s rich African American history for nearly 10 years and
now the group’s research is featured in the half hour television documentary.
“We started off with
slavery, all the aspects of slavery, of course this is also George Washington
country,” Jim Tolbert, founding member, said.
“If you look at John Brown’s raid, and of course Martin
Delaney, at the Jefferson
County courthouse there were
two treason trials and African Americans were involved in both of those treason
trials and that is a rarity,” Jim Taylor, founding member, said.
“And with the African Americans that came with John Brown,
after we started doing research we found that a couple of them had relatives in
the area,” Taylor
The Black History Preservation Society has created visual
exhibits and published several books about the county’s African American history. This is the first TV documentary featuring
the group’s research.
Taylor and Tolbert sid it’s important for his generation to
document this history.
“I was born in the ‘30’s and we were born at a time where we
knew and saw some of those ex slaves, they were older people, and we are able
to close that gap between seeing and knowing those ex slaves all the way until
the year 2009,” Taylor said.
“I think the people that came before us left a whole lot for
us even though we didn’t have the advantages that we have today so we think
it’s important that we leave behind a legacy,” Tolbert said.
With work on the
documentary behind them, Taylor
says the group is planning several more projects including a book based on
interviews done about 20 years ago with older residents of the county and
another on women who impacted the county’s African American history.
“Road Trip to History- African Americans of Jefferson
County, West Virginia” is produced by Jefferson
County filmmaker Wayne Bronson and will air on PBS stations in Virginia and West Virginia.
The premiere is Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Wright Denny
in Charles Town.