Descendants of their bloodlines' roots in Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia work to keep the Black community's history alive.
Nestled close to the Ohio River, three people have incorporated the preservation of their ancestry and regional paper trail. In the mountain chain's foothills, much of its Black history has been written out or ignored.
Rhonda Tabler took on the role of President of the Multicultural Genealogical Center in Chesterhill, Ohio, a dubbed "tri-racial" town with Black, White, and mixed racial identities making up the majority of the racial demographics in 2010 census data. Tabler's obsession with genealogy influences her passion poured into the Center's vast data collection and its history as a stop in the Underground Railroad.
David Butcher's People of Color Museum is located beside his home in Stewart, Ohio––just minutes away from Kilvert, once known as Tablertown. Butcher's ancestors founded the small village in 1830, where much of the area's family tree still resides. With grants and community fundraising, Butcher's efforts to keep the village's crucial history alive through community outreach and educational tours given to local Ohio University students are just some of the ways his family is working to preserve the truth about the mislabled village on the map.
Dr. Trevellya "Tee" Ford-Ahmed never forgot her West Virginian roots. Her resettled home is just across the Ohio River in Athens, Ohio, where, as a board member with the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society, her efforts in holding on to her family's history through recipes and heirlooms, as do Tabler and Butcher, coincides with her mission to maintain the university town's only historical Black church. The structure's interior has faced maintenance obstacles, and masks must be worn inside. Amid Ford-Ahmed's work to solidify the church's ideal future as a Black community center, partnerships with local preservationists bringing the small city's Black history to life again through technology is a silver lining around the expensive burdens requiring attention for years to come.