ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
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 and previous residents to tell the story of 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.
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 memorializing some of the historically significant businesses and a Commemorative Wall were installed that tells 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 Brian Davis.