Local stories of Black Lebanon historical figures brought back to life

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – A partnership between a school and a cemetery has brought forgotten local black historical figures to life.

New history is told by local students, and for the people buried in the Lebanon Cemetery, it brings their stories to life.

“I was never a history person at all. I’ve never really liked history, but it kind of sparked a new interest,” said Melchi Barbour, a student at York College of Pennsylvania.

An interest in telling the stories of historical Black figures that might have been forgotten over the years.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity for students to learn that history can be made by them. They can learn other stories instead of just learning facts and memorizing, which is sometimes their take on history,” said Dominic DelliCarpini, professor and dean of the Center for Community Engagement at York College.

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dr DelliCarpini introduced the idea that students could discover black history for themselves, but not in a book or online, but at the Lebanon Cemetery.

“They start to understand that history is just a snapshot, just part of what happened in the past, that it’s always a choice who we look at and what we think,” said Dr. DelliCarpini.

Samantha Dorm, the Friends of Lebanon Cemetery consultant, says the group worked with York College on the project.

“The way I see history, it may not be how younger generations see it, so it was really important for us to see how others would engage in learning, in some cases through their own families,” Dorm said.

Students like Barbour bring stories to life, like the life of Helen Thackston.

“I liked her story and how she was a huge educator and activist in the York community, and I felt that was kind of different,” Barbour said.

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Thackston represents only one headstone whose story has been retold, but it is not the only one.

“Since the beginning of this project and in trying to get this information out to the public, some people have called me a historian, which I am not. I’m a storyteller, I’m here to tell my family’s stories and it’s so great to have the opportunity to have some support for these young people who didn’t just take it as a job but really embraced being able to tell the stories of each person here, and that’s probably the greatest achievement of this experiment. It wasn’t just about the classroom, they wanted to tell the story of the people,” concluded Dorm.

https://www.abc27.com/local-news/local-stories-of-historic-black-lebanon-figures-brought-back-to-life/ Local stories of Black Lebanon historical figures brought back to life

Brian Ashcraft

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