The Soul of Second Street History and Music Festival Lecture, after taking a hiatus last year due to the pandemic, is returning.
This year’s history conference will be held on September 17 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Boyle County Public Library, and the music festival will be held on September 18 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Constitution Square.
Michael Hughes, president of the Danville-Boyle County African American Historical Society, said this will be the fourth year of the history conference and the sixth year of the music festival. The event usually takes place in August, he said, but the DBCAAHS pushed it back to September due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and because it was a good time for Center College students are involved.
People have asked Hughes if Soul of Second Street is happening this year, so he wants to talk about it now.
He said that a difference between this year’s history conference and those of the past will be setting up exhibits featuring historic African American communities, neighborhoods, schools, cemeteries and churches.
He said that in general he wanted the focus to be on the festival and Second Street to shift the negativity around urban renewal by taking over black owned properties and transforming an Afro business district. – American flourishing on Second Street and surrounding streets in Constitution Square in the 1970s, in celebration of progress.
“I wanted to get away from that and for people to come out and take advantage of the progress to be able to create the history center,” he said.
The DBCAAHS History Center is located at 108 N. Second Street in the Old Henson Hotel. Much of the material collected, such as photos, old newspaper articles, maps, posters, and artifacts from old schools and barbershops, must be remembered not only from the business district, but also from the black communities of the greater Danville-Boyle County region, and storytelling.
The DBCAAHS also worked with Center College to create a collection of oral interviews, to hear about the business district and historic communities directly from those who remember them. He said that since the Center played a role in urban renewal years ago, the college is now trying to work with the DBCAAHS to focus on historic African American communities.
Hughes said that starting July 8, the history center will be open two days a week from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., although opening days have yet to be set. People can also visit by appointment, individually or in groups.
For the Soul of Second Street history lecture, center intern Elizabeth Bowling, a student, said the screens would contain maps showing the location of communities and their schools, cemeteries and churches, and that it there would be names of people who lived in the communities. Story collection forms will also be distributed to see if family members have any stories to tell about the communities to collect for the conference. There will also be dates when African American communities settled and the first people to move in, many of whom came out of slavery.
Hughes said that although the screens are an effort to tell stories, “it’s hard to tell the story unless you have someone who has actually lived in the communities,” most of whom are dead or living. more in the area.
“To know the real history of the community, we hope to have people who have actually lived in the communities,” he said.
This is where story collection forms also come in – to find family members of people who remember communities.
Hughes said many communities no longer exist or still have only a few structures. For example, Davistown still exists but few people now live there, and when Hughes himself was young Clifton was an “all black” neighborhood, but the only thing there is now is a black church. -he declares.
“It’s like that in a lot of – most communities,” he said. “But we want to tell the stories the best we can.”
While the history conference will focus on storytelling, the music festival will be a celebration with food stalls, musical performances during the hours it takes place and maybe a few speakers, Hughes said. There are two different committees that plan events for Soul of Second Street – a history committee and one organizing the music festival.
African American Communities History Conference will feature:
Aliceton, Mitchellsburg, Wilsonville, Perryville, Sleettown, Atoka (Needmore), Worl (d) stown, Zion Hill – Persimmon Knob, West Danville, Danville (Second Street, Seventh Street, etc.), Shelby City, Meauxtown, (Little) Needmore, Wells Landing, Ston (e) y Point, Hedgeville, Clifton and Davistown.
To become a member of the DBCAAHS or to donate material such as photos and other items:
• Send documents to DBAAHS, PO Box 597, Danville, KY, 40423
• Call 859-209-4456 and leave a message if there is no response immediately.
Visit the DBCAAHS website to learn more about the Historical Society, History Center and go to the link to view the Oral History Collection compiled by Center College.