UTC History students and interns are taking a hands-on approach to learning history — they’re preserving history.
Randall Shular, an intern in Special Collections from the Department of History, worked with the UTC Library to develop a featured exhibit on Ed Johnson, who was lynched by a mob in Chattanooga in 1906. The exhibit explores the role of the local media in criminalizing Ed Johnson and inciting the violence that led to his murder. The Ed Johnson Project, a diverse community committee committed to telling the story of Ed Johnson through a memorial, documentary, and scholarship, promotes racial healing and reconciliation in Chattanooga by creating a permanent memorial which acknowledges the lynching of Ed Johnson, honors the courageous work of the attorneys and others who stood up for equal justice, and recognizes the resulting United States Supreme Court case that established federal oversight of state level civil rights issues then and now.
In her course, African American Women, Assistant Professor of History Susan Eckelmann Berghel has students engage with history beyond the textbooks, getting personal with local history makers and recording their stories and perspectives. The end result is the Voices of African American Women Oral History project. The project partners with the Mayor’s Council for Women’s History subcommittee, a group that is recovering, archiving and publishing the experiences of local women leaders, advocates, educators and community builders. Not just telling “history,” as the subcommittee’s website says, but telling “herstories.”