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West End Digitization Day To Encapsulate The Area’s Past

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
West End Digitization Day To Encapsulate The Area’s Past

Tennessee Tech Archives and West End Connections are partnering to archive more of the history of Cookeville’s West End neighborhood Saturday.

Dr. Krystal Akehinmi said people can bring pictures and artifacts to have them digitized. Residents can also share stories that have been passed down as part of the oral history portion of the archive. Akehinmi said she said she hopes to get the entire West End community listed on the National Historic Registry.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity to partner with people who are not just decluttering their homes, but thinking about how they can take what they’ve had as a part of their material world and their family’s histories and the community’s histories and bring that to one central space where we can record the West End’s history together,” Akehinmi said.

Akehinmi said yearbooks, scrapbooks, and any other materials from West End’s past can be brought and digitized to create a clearer picture of the West End community is. She said those people often lacked the resources necessary to amplify their voices and share their stories. She said people can come out to Wright’s Chapel Saturday to share memories and grow the sense of community.

“That richness then can allow us to appreciate that the demographics of Cookeville have greatly shifted,” Akehinmi said. “There are more people and more resources that can help us to be able to recognize a wide range of experience, so once we look at the history, we can appreciate what we have to a greater degree.”

She said Tennessee Tech Archives has six interns collecting oral history interviews. African Americans, she said, can access stories and photos collected from the segregation era and understand more clearly the shifts that have allowed their people access to different spaces. She said a look into the black experience from that era is not particularly easy to come by today.

“Being able to record oral histories and hear what people knew of the community before major changes happened helps us to track those changes and really see how we can grow as a wider, broader community going forward,” Akehinmi said.


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