Missing History of Massillon: Unheard African American Stories will feature oral histories, archives, photographs, and artifacts celebrating the rich narrative of Massillon’s Black community. Some items in the exhibition will be from the Museum’s permanent collections; some will be recent acquisitions gathered from the community throughout this project.
The Marva L. Dodson CHARISMA Collection will be featured, as will contemporary photographs by Cleveland artist Amber N. Ford.
The exhibit is part of a larger project to increase MassMu’s representation of content and dialogue both reflecting and created by Massillon’s African American community.
Staff and volunteers recorded 30 histories from the past and present. Submissions from the community and scans from the MassMu permanent collection now total more than 2,500 items that document Massillon's rich Black history. A selection of these will be available on a dedicated online archive (launches June 11). The archive will grow as additional information is collected and more interviews are conducted.
Community members will continue to be encouraged to help preserve the history of African American men and women of Massillon by sharing historic photographs, artifacts, documents, family letters, artworks, uniforms, patches, telegrams, audiovisual recordings and more for digitization and public commemoration.
Funding has been provided in part by Marathon Petroleum Company and by Arthur P. And Martha Q. Underhill through the Massillon Community Charitable Fund at Stark Community Foundation. Individual contributions by Martha MacLachlan, Ginger Green, Heather Pennington, and David Harding have also helped bring the project to fruition. Operating support is provided by ArtsinStark and the Ohio Arts Council, and marketing support by Visit Canton.
The Museum has organized this project in partnership with Sisterhood of Jewels Community Connections, Inc., A Wise Way, and numerous community members.
For more information about Missing History of Massillon: Unheard African American Stories, visit MassMu.org/MissingHistory.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call the Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit massillonmuseum.org.