Lincoln School
Students at Lincoln School, Photo courtesy Ohio County Public Library.

Kicking Off Black History Month

Black History Month was created by the famous African American historian, Carter G. Woodson, in 1926. Originally known as “Negro History Month,” it was a response to what Woodson saw as a disturbing lack of Black history and narratives included in history curriculum—he wanted to encourage African Americans to rediscover their past that was intentionally forgotten or erased in mainstream history.

February cannot be the only month to engage with Black history—it is crucial that we learn about and celebrate Black history, stories, and narratives every day. However, Black History Month is an important time to acknowledge how much Black history has been excluded—both intentionally and accidentally—from mainstream culture and history. It is not a pigeonhole, but rather a time to elevate and reshare resources that help us engage with Black history all year long.

Weelunk strives to be a platform that uplifts and shares diverse and nuanced histories that are related to the Wheeling area. Continue to watch the Weelunk page for new articles by and about Black history and African American contributions to the Wheeling community. In the meantime, to kick-off Black History Month, Weelunk has compiled a list of resources to help you further explore African American history, stories, and narratives in Wheeling and West Virginia.

Selected Weelunk Articles

Ohio County Public Library Resources

African American Wheeling Research Page: Compilation of Wheeling African American history resources available at the Ohio County Public Library
The Wheeling Memory Project: Ann Thomas
The Wheeling Memory Project: William Burrus
Wheeling Spoken History Project: Numerous Interviews

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Selected Archiving Wheeling Blog Articles

Wheeling-born Maestro Celebrates 100th Birthday
Colonel Bill Turner: Wheeling’s First Black Police Officer

West Virginia Archives and History

West Virginia Archives and History Center: African Americans: Compilation of West Virginia African American history resources at the West Virginia Archives and History Center
Celebrating Lives: A Glimpse of African-Americans in West Virginia: A photo exhibit of African American life in West Virginia

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

African American History Tagged Articles: Compilation of articles by West Virginia Public Broadcasting that have to do with African American history, with a focus on West Virginia

Other General Black History Resources and Institutions

West Virginia Center for African-American Art & Culture
Heritage Towers Museum and Cultural Center: A museum and cultural center that provides enriching educational and cultural enlightenment and is a premier Black culture and African Heritage facility in the state of West Virginia.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture: Museum located in Washington, DC that is dedicated to African-American history and culture. Many of its artifacts and documents are digitized online.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: A research library that is part of the New York Public Library that is an archive repository for information on people of African descent worldwide. Many documents and exhibits are digitized online.

Historical Instagram Accounts

(Not necessarily focused on West Virginia)

@blackbygodwv: Black news to, from, and by West Virginians. This Instagram account shares historical photos of Black West Virginians Brings a spotlight to Black experiences through historic photos
@race_women: Honoring our earliest Black feminist foremothers through historic photos and histories
@blackhistory: Black history through historical photos from around the world

Note: This is not a comprehensive list, but merely a starting point to exploring, discovering, and learning more Black history.

• Emma Wiley, originally from Falls Church, Virginia, was a former AmeriCorps member with Wheeling Heritage. Emma has a B.A. in history from Vassar College and is passionate about connecting communities, history, and social justice.