Photos depicting African-American history topic of local history potluck

Published 12:27 pm Monday, September 19, 2016

By John Maruskin, Clark County Public Library

Winchester resident, Lindrell Blackwell, will present this month’s Local History Potluck Dinner Program from 6:15 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the library.

Blackwell is on the board of the Winchester Heritage Commission, a board member of Hopewell Museum in Paris and also an active and respected member of the African-American Genealogy Group of Kentucky, Inc.

Many library patrons and Clark County residents will recognize him from his popular genealogy classes.

At this Thursday’s program, hewill talk about the life and work of his grandfather, Willie Lee Edwards, who was a noted photographer in Paris, Kentucky. Called “Pat” by his friends, Edwards is an important contributor to local history because his photographs provide a record of the 20th century history and culture of Bourbon County’s Black community.

Edwards was a warm-hearted, gracious, and telling photographer. You can browse through a number of his pictures online at the Bourbon County Digital Library, http://diglib.bourbonlibrary.org.

A picture in that collection that particularly struck me is titled “Unknown Couple at Christmas.” With expressions that beam holiday joy, a handsome black couple, the man dressed in an impeccable cut-away tuxedo, and the woman clothed in a floor length white gown with a Bolero jacket, pose in front of a glimmering Christmas tree that must be 12 feet tall. A merry image.

Then I remembered, at the time the picture was taken, these young, attractive people faced racial segregation and humiliation as an everyday part of their lives, and suddenly Edwards’ picture became a moving portrait of Black American dignity and spirit.

Come to the library this Thursday to hear Lindrell Blackwell tell Willie Lee Edward’s story and to see our local history.

This program is free and open to the public.  If you’d like to join in on the potluck dinner, please bring a dish.

If you prefer not to enjoy the potluck, you may also come at 6:50 p.m. Either way, make a reservation to ensure you have a seat.

Dial 859-744-5661 or register online by using the library’s Evanced event calendar, accessed at our website www.clarkbooks.org.

Also this week:

— At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Easy Email.Essential for online job applications.

— At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Novels at Night book group talks about “Glory Over Everything,” by Kathleen Grissom. Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad. Books are available at the circulation desk.

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show presents a (1938) film starring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Nissa the leopard. While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby. Directed by Howard Hawks, this is one of the greatest screwball comedies of all time. I mean, from Big Bang to Crunch.  Rated PG-13.

— At 10 a.m. Friday, the Pantsers Writing Group meets to laugh, muse and stretch American English’s linguistic envelope.

— From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Outside the Lines Adult Coloring Group meets to make rainbows of their own devising.

Autumn starts at 10:21 a.m. Thursday, which is also the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

Give someone a gift, as is traditional among Hobbits.

Steer clear of Nazgul at any time of the year.  They are humorless.