September 22, 2007

NEWS: College Icon Creates Cohesion

Claiming Kansas' Black History
Preservationists take lesson from JCCC instructor
Carmaletta Williams, professor of English at JCCC, spoke to organizers of the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Sept 20.

From the Osawatomie Graphic:
Williams' speech about the history of African Americans in Kansas during the Civil War period sparked many of the representatives in attendance to discuss how they could put more of an emphasis on teaching African-American history throughout the heritage area.

The group agreed that a stronger emphasis was needed, with many officials pointing out that not one African-American organization is represented in the group.
“I'm used to being the only chocolate chip in the cookie,” Williams said with a laugh.

Congress designated the area, one of 37 across the country, to help preserve local history and promote tourism. Freedom's Frontier encompasses 29 counties in eastern Kansas and 12 in western Missouri.

Williams has presented to more than 250 groups. Many of those presentations included her first-person characterization of noted black writer, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurstons. She's also served as a consultant to the government of Guinea, West Africa. Last year, Williams served on the college's presidential screening committee.

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