WASHINGTON, D.C. — Winnsboro native Fay Allen Kennedy hopes it will be possible to share more of his hometown with visitors from throughout the nation to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a facility he is helping build.
When those at the Smithsonian site learned Kennedy was from rural South Carolina, the director of the project, Lonnie Bunch, contacted him and asked if he had any materials from the civil rights era he would share with the museum.
One day in his father’s workshop, Kennedy remembered running across a “Southern Christian Leadership Conference Citizenship Workbook” and he found it to be in good condition. He offered that for the museum exhibit and a relationship was formed.
People on staff wanted to know more about the experiences surrounding school integration in Fairfield County and Winnsboro, so in his spare time, Kennedy has taken up that cause.
One particular area of interest for him is the Mt. Zion School years 1964 and 1965. Researchers want to know more about what took place during the first year of integration there. There might be more opportunity to help put Fairfield on the map by adding to the Smithsonian account of that chapter of American history, something that excites Kennedy.
He recalls some classmates such as Finlay O’Neal, Michael Miller and Kennedy who were the first ones to come into the elementary school that year. He would like to reconnect with O’Neal in Jenkinsville as well as Vincent Pearson and any others who have memories and historical narratives to share.
If anyone has information, recollections, photographs, or documents related to that year, he asks that they email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Herald Independent so that the people’s contact information can be relayed to him.
More information about the project can be found at http://www.nmaahc.si.edu/. According to the site, The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003. The 19th Smithsonian Institution museum, it is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture.
The museum site is located on the national mall and is expected to open in 2015.