The West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism with mark Veterans Day Thursday by taking on a new project that further advances its efforts to document the stories of West Virginias war veterans.

A West Virginia Humanities Council grant will allow SOJ Assistant Professor Joel Beeson and his students to develop a 30-minute multimedia documentary that tells the stories of the states African-American war veterans.

Beeson anticipates interviewing about 30 African-American veterans, with the final documentary edited down to about 12 individual stories.

The project will be based on first-hand accounts, memories and personal perspectives that shaped African-American veteran’s experiences, as well as personal documents, photographs combined with archival film footage, text and music.

The grant builds off the WVU School of Journalism-sponsored West Virginia Veterans History Project, which Beeson directed. Over the last year, journalism students and faculty collected 100 of the states veteranshistories, which were sent to the Library of Congress, where they will be available for generations to come. Students also trained civic groups across the state to collect the histories for that project.

The Library of Congress told us that African-American veterans were underrepresented in the Veterans History Project archives,said Acting Dean Maryanne Reed.So with the support and encouragement of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who initially approached the school about developing the project, Joel applied to the Humanities Council for a grant.

The multimedia documentary will be distributed to West Virginia VHP partners, local libraries and schools. Portions of the documentary will be made available as streaming video on the West Virginia Veterans History Project website,

The DVD will be integrated into a multimedia/printed book package in the second phase of the project. Beeson anticipates beginning the second, or book publication phase, sometime in late 2005 or early 2006.

The project will add an important component to the historical record,Beeson said,by including the stories of West Virginias black men and women who have made sacrifices in military service to our nation.