National Endowment for the Humanities.
The opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily represent the views of either the Louisiana Endowment for
the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In Celebration of Black History Month the February “Night for the Museum” features local author and researcher Dr. Roy G. Phillips, PhD.
Monday, February 9th, 2009 will be the 2nd in the 2009 series of museum speakers. Held monthly at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Downtown Minden, Louisiana. Doors open at 5:30 with speakers starting at 6:30. Admission is free of charge but donations are welcome. Get there early to get a good seat!
Don’t miss this exciting evening dealing with subjects from over 200 years ago through today. Hear about the struggles of one family from Africa through Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow Segregation, World Wars, the Great Migration of black families out of the South and the tumultuous civil rights era of the 1960s, and beyond. Hear Dr. Roy G. Phillips tell of his travels to Africa and his exciting research on his own family. Hear how Dr. Phillips underwent DNA testing to find out what tribe his family came from. Find out about his remarkable close contact of the descendants of the plantation owners that had once owned his great grandfather and other relatives in the Shreveport and East Texas area. See a slideshow presentation of family and historical photos from the years of research done to complete his book “Exodus from the Door of No Return.”
This year marks a milestone year for African American citizens young and old, with the newly elected first black president in the United States. The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is currently working on the Black History of Webster parish. The museum were recently awarded an Outreach Grant from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for up to $2,500 for research being done by help of Dr. Roy G. Phillips, PhD and Mr. James H. Smith entitled “The History of the African American in Webster Parish”.
Dr. Roy G. Phillips, PhD, is a retired campus president at Miami-Dade College, Homestead campus. After sixty years, he returned to his native home in rural Webster Parish outside of Minden. Encouraged by a conversation with renowned author Alex Haley, he researched his own family history back to their native land in Africa and published a book on his findings.
His co-researcher is James H. Smith, a well-known longtime educator, principal in the Webster Parish Schools system, advisor, and volunteer in many youth programs in the parish. Mr. Smith is quite knowledgeable about the Minden area where he has been a life-long resident. Historian John Agan will assist them in their work. Museum designer, Larry Milford will design exhibits based on their research.
Thad Andress; Dorcheat Historical Association President said, "Having read Dr. Phillips book, which includes Mr. Phillips personal history, I have complete confidence this research is in good hands."
Phillips and Smith are beginning research for the African-American exhibits at the Dorcheat Museum. They are contacting persons throughout the parish who have knowledge of this particular part of our history. Where practical and with the permissions of the persons involved, Phillips and Smith will make audio-video recordings of their interviews. This oral history will be valuable for future researchers as well as making interesting exhibits. All periods from 1800 to the present will be covered. Broad spectrums of topics of historical significance are covered including, slavery, reconstruction, occupations, churches, education, etc. In addition they will attempt to find printed information, manuscripts, pictures and artifacts that are of historical importance.
For more information about this and other museum functions visit the museum at 116 Pearl Street, contact Schelley Brown at 318-377-3002 or visit the museum site at http://www.museuminminden.blogspot.com/ .
Click on above album to see the museum event photos.
Understanding Slavery an Important Lesson to Learn
The 2nd in the 2009 series of “The Night for the Museum” was another big success. Schelley Brown; Dorcheat Museum Director commented, “This event in celebration of Black History month was a true learning experience for everyone that attended. Dr. Roy Phillips spoke about his research of his family, slavery and his roots back to Africa. Dr. Phillips became involved in his family research after speaking to Alex Haley of Roots fame many years ago and was later able to write his own family history in his book that will be available soon at the museum. I think everyone in attendance learned a lot about the origins of slavery and its effects.” Brown also commented that, “Both Dr. Phillips and Mr. James Smith have been a real asset to the museum, with their work on the Black History of Webster Parish. We are so lucky to have them doing this work for us. I am so pleased with the response from the community that the monthly events are creating. When history excites people that has a positive effect on what we are tying to do with the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum.”
One surprise for the evening was a $5,000 check that was presented to museum association President; Mr. Thad Andress from Cultural Crossroads President; Julie Vogel. Julie spoke of the importance in the community to support art and history projects. The evening was successful with donations from others at the end of the evening in support of preserving our parish history.
A tour of the museum was followed, with a look at the work being done on the Slavery and Reconstruction exhibit. This work is being done by local artist Larry Milford. Milford’s touch is seen throughout the museum with the layout and wonderful murals that are part of the overall look of the museum. The museum has 10 speakers scheduled for the 2009 series with Mr. Don Hinton in March, Mr. T.C. Bloxom Jr. in April and Richard Noles to speak in May. You will not want to miss these next three speakers. The events are held at 6:00 P.M. on the 2nd Monday of the month, at Christopher’s located on Main Street in Minden. If you haven’t been to 116 Pearl Street to see what Minden has to offer you need to make a point of dropping by and spending some time. Help the museum preserve our history for our future. For more information contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or go to the museum site at http://www.museuminminden.blogspot.com/