The West Virginia University School of Journalism is seeking the stories of the states African-American veterans and war-time workers so they can be chronicled in a multimedia project.
Joel Beeson, director of the project, is particularly interested in gaining the stories of women who served in the military, women and men who worked in defense industries or home front activities and Vietnam veterans and enlisted men. He is seeking those who may have lived in West Virginia while serving but have since moved away.
A West Virginia Humanities Council grant is currently funding the WVU P .I. Reed School of Journalism project that involves developing a 30-minute multimedia documentary that tells the stories of the states African-American war veterans from all 20th and 21st century wars. Beeson wants to tell the stories of combat veterans, truck drivers, cooks, war-time industry workers, nurses and African-American women who helped in the war effort.
The multimedia 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 project will add an important component to the historical record,”Beeson said,”by including the stories of West Virginia’s black men and women who have made sacrifices in military service to our nation.”
The grant builds off the WVU School of Journalism-sponsored West Virginia Veterans History Project, which Beeson directed. Over the last two years 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 this project, Joel applied to the Humanities Council for a grant.”
Interested African-American veterans and other war-time workers should contact Beeson at 304-293-3505, ext. 5422 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 Web site,http://veteranshistory.wvu.edu