Saturday, June 26, 2004

The Museum's First Anniversary July 10, 2004

It’s hard to believe but the African American Alliance will be hosting the first anniversary of the Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center July 10, 2004. In the year that we have been open we have had over one thousand visitors, some from as far as London, England. We serve the community by providing a repository for local artifacts and our research rooms provide books, documents and assistance in family history research. In our first year our collection of local family histories has grown from a handful to over two hundred. Strengthening our local African American history base is essential to the history of Coweta County.

The Alliance and the museum have received many awards including a special state resolution by the House of Representatives at the Capitol. The Coweta County Commissioners has also presented the organization with a county resolution for our work in the community and the Alliance is continually featured in the Newnan-Times Herald, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and local radio.

There are several projects that are being worked on which will increase the visitation attraction to the museum and the county:
• Phase one of the Powell School, to be a school museum, is completed. The completion of this project will surely draw visitors interested in the history of education.
• The reconstruction of the Storey-Buchanan slave cabin, which was located on the property of the Buena Vista plantation, is in the preliminary stage. General Wheeler spent the night at Buena Vista during his march across Georgia. The information about General Wheeler, the plantation owner, General Hugh Buchanan (a civil war officer), the slave cabin and a slave, Daniel Jackson, associated with General Hugh Buchanan are documented in the local history book, The History of Coweta County Georgia. Professor Rebecca Bailey’s Public History class at the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, used the interpretation of the cabin as their spring 2004 class project and has provided the museum with an in depth report on slave cabins and related topics such as music, religion, and family life. This information will assist us in properly presenting this otherwise negative component of African American history with a more informational point of view. Our purpose is to educate the community about African American history, even the negative parts, however do it in a way that will present the complete picture, as best as we can, so that the history may be interpreted properly. Once completed this will be the only cabin of its significance this side of Atlanta and possibly in the southwest side of the state. The visitation potential is unlimited. We are hoping to begin the reconstruction for the anniversary and have a starting exhibit in the museum, which will allow our guests a preview of what is to come.
• Plans are being reviewed to expand the museum to provide additional space for a community room where we can conduct genealogy and other informational classes, renovation of the grounds around the museum building to include walking trails, history kiosks, seating and a memorial for the Farmer Street African American Cemetery.
• A short story film of Daniel Jackson and the Story-Buchanan slave cabin will be produced.

The upcoming first anniversary celebration will be our opportunity to show the one hundred plus attendees from our grand opening our progress, to express our thanks for the support of all who have helped us this past year, sponsors such as Georgia Power, and to invite a new set of visitors to our museum and research center. We will provide food and entertainment for an expected two hundred and fifty guests. Cargill Corporation is donating pork tenderloins and several other corporations are donating chicken wings, sandwiches, breads, and drinks. We will be serving Mrs. Perry’s watermelon ice cream for desert. We have invited our community and people from Atlanta, especially the museums, to attend and share in the festivities with us. Volume Records, Inc. from Atlanta will be present to accept applications for auditions which will take place at our Freedom Day festival August 28th; sort of Newnan’s version of American Idol.

The Freedom Day Celebration is to commemorate the emancipation of Coweta County’s slaves August 26, 1865. The Alliance will sponsor a three day celebration starting with an awards banquet at the Newnan County Club where Congressman John Lewis will be awarded the Reverend Welcome Sutton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Tuskegee Airmen will receive the Legacy Award. Other recipients will include State Representative Lynn Smith and the United We Stand youth group. There will be a full day festival at Central Education Center and on Sunday we will join the class of 1954 for their 50th Warner High School class reunion at Newnan Chapel Church. There we will present the church with the Religion Award for being the first African American church in Coweta County, built in 1840.

Our final fundraiser for 2004 will be our third annual Soulful Christmas Celebration scheduled for December 11, 2004. Last year the Ballethnic Dance Troupe, the largest African American ballet troupe in Georgia, came to perform for us. This year we are hoping to bring a big name gospel artist for the program.

1 comment:

Regina said...

Great news! I can't believe it has been a year.
It seems like yesterday we had the Grand Opening.
It was such a wonderful day.

Congratulations! and I'll be there with bells on!