On Saturday, February 11, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., Doctoral Student Sara Evers will present her research on the history prior to Booker T. Washington becoming a National Monument. Honoring Booker T. Washington’s legacy at the site of his birth did not start with the National Park Service. Beginning in the 1930s, African Americans spearheaded efforts to acquire the land for the purposes of memorialization.
In 1945, Black leaders gained political and financial support from the government of Virginia to establish the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial. Memorial operations differed greatly from exhibits and programming after its transfer to the Park Service. The public history work undergone at the memorial reflects the goals and perspectives of its staff and founders as they maintained a site of history dedicated to an African American leader in Jim Crow Virginia. This talk will discuss how public historians represented the history of Booker T. Washington during the Birthplace Memorial period (1945-1956), a time of change in Virginian race relations.
Sara Evers is a doctoral student in history education at Virginia Tech. Her primary research interest is in history as “difficult knowledge". “History is complex, dynamic, and multifaceted; historical knowledge is difficult to engage with when it challenges one’s worldviews or elicits uncomfortable emotions.” Her research centers on engagement with "difficult history" in informal and formal learning spaces including classrooms, historic sites and museums, and simulation and gaming spaces. Prior to her time at Virginia Tech, Sara taught history in Virginia public schools.
All are invited to attend this presentation. The program is FREE, and no reservations are required. For more information, call the park at (540) 721-2094.
Photo credit: Black and white photo is credited to Parker Studio. Sara Evers photo is credited to Sara Evers.