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OU event features African American Studies research

Ohio University’s Black History Month Committee hosted an event to highlight the African American Research and Service Institute research from 2000-2010 and present the recipients of the Rev. Dr. Francine C. Child Service Justice Scholarship Endowment.

The ceremony took place in the Walter Hall Rotunda on Thursday and began with a video to remember Professor Emerita of African American Studies Francine Childs, whom the scholarship endowment was named after.

Childs was OU’s first Black tenured professor and died in May 2023. The scholarship promotes active advocacy, such as Childs did within the university’s African American Studies Department. 

Acie Claymore, assistant director of multicultural programs, started the program. 

“Simply put, I wanted to do my part to ensure the legacy of Dr. Childs here at Ohio University was truly acknowledged,” Claymore said. 

Following the commemorative video, Gary Halcomb, chair of the African American Studies Department, presented the scholarships to recipients Hali Bridges and Jada Wilkins. Each recipient gave a speech to show their gratitude for the award. 

Both students also expressed gratitude for the African American Studies Department and its importance in their lives. 

“I think the work that students like us are doing, professors like them are doing, … African American studies departments across the country are extremely important,” Wilkins said. “I'm so glad to see departments and programs like this flourishing.”

Bridges also mentioned the effect OU’s African American Studies Department has had on her and how it has changed her life by first changing her major.

“The knowledge and understanding I've gained from this department has been invaluable to me, and I have carried it throughout my academic career,” Bridges said. “I'm so grateful to be a part of this department, and I'm so grateful to be a part of the work that we're doing.”

Following the acceptance speeches, Halcomb introduced Andrea Frohne, an associate professor of African art history and the director of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts.

During her presentation, Frohne discussed the research and discoveries made by the African American Research and Service Institute from 2000 to 2010. The main topic was the project called African American Presence in the Ohio River Valley Oral History Project.

“This project was to collect oral histories to document an African American presence in southern Ohio,” Frohne said. “To assist communities in remembering, telling, recording and preserving African American experience in this region to support community members with skills to conduct research.”

Several interviews were shown throughout the presentation, and discoveries were made about family trees to show the African American experience in the Appalachian region throughout history.

To conclude her presentation, Frohne showed the audience photos of the files connected to this project, located in the Bentley Hall Annex. 


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