The Jack Hadley Black History Museum, Thomasville History Center, and the City of Thomasville are proud to announce the initiation of The Bottom Oral History Project. This African American business district’s rich history will be recorded and documented to embrace the culture and experiences it provided for the citizens of Thomasville; however, we need the support and assistance of the local Thomasville community to illustrate and comprehend this significant area in Georgia.
Brian Davis and Dr. Kurt Piehler, both of Florida State University, are seeking volunteers who are willing to be interviewed about their experiences and connection to The Bottom. The comfort of the interviewees is a top priority and interview times and locations are flexible. We also welcome any additional materials, such as photographs, letters, and newspaper articles. One of the desired goals of this project is to allow the citizens of Thomasville and visitors another opportunity to celebrate The Bottom.
“This project is an important one for the City of Thomasville so we can continue to document the history of The Bottom District and share it with future generations,” noted Sherri Cain, Community Engagement Manager for the City of Thomasville. “We’re happy to partner with the Jack Hadley Black History Museum and the Thomasville History Center for this important project so we can create a record of life and capture the voices that experienced it.”
The City of Thomasville recently finished an extensive streetscape project that used a series of public engagement sessions to develop a new creative district in the historic area of downtown known as The Bottom. Preserving the historical importance of the area was at the forefront of the project. The Ritz Amphitheater was named for the Ritz Theater, the entertainment hub in Thomasville for the African American community. Sidewalk plaques commemorating some of the historically significant businesses and a Commemorative Wall were installed that tell the story of The Bottom and its significance to Downtown Thomasville.
The oral histories and photos gathered will be used to finish two remaining projects: an interactive online walking tour and storyboards for The Ritz Amphitheater explaining its importance to Thomasville’s African American community.
If you’re interested in participating, please contact the City of Thomasville at 229-227-4154, Brian Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Thomasville History Center at 229-226-7664, or the Jack Hadley Black History Museum at 229-226-5029.
Photo: Compliments of the Jack Hadley Black History Museum