Pictured is Cheyney McKnight, an Atlanta native and founder of interpretation company, “Not Your Momma’s History”. Raised in a home that encouraged her to learn everything from Civil Rights to the Great Migration, McKnight would eventually go on to attain a political science degree from Simmons College.
Immediately after, she spent 3-years of independent study, traveling to archives and historical sites in NY, VA and Pennsylvania. Then she started participating in Living History Re-enactments, which can be defined as a portrayal of everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, and medical care from a particular historical period. Her first re-enactment was during the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. She portrayed a 22 year-old freewoman of color
McKnight is committed to influencing diversity in Living History interpretations. She recognizes the voice it can lend to contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter.
Today, there is a small representation of Black Living Historians and she is committed to changing that. She is confident that in 10 years she will not be the only one doing this forecasting, “there will be 20 black women living historians just in New York” alone.
This photo, shot by photographer Jeff Elkins, is of historian and author Al-Tony Gilmore. He is standing in front of event posters that he found in an Ohio junk shop. Gilmore has curated an invitation only museum dedicated to African American history.
Over the past few decades he has collected and filled his Bethesda Maryland home with over 7000 one of a kind treasures including “vintage movie posters, and important correspondence from black politicians and public figures.”
“A 2017 national survey report by the American Alliance of Museums reveals that whites hold 84 percent of curator, conservator, educator and other leadership positions in American museums. These jobs are critical; individuals with such titles build the collections and determine the topics of the exhibits and programs that are the central activities of cultural institutions….”
“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, U.S. Rep. Cardiss Collins, D-Ill., the first African-American woman to represent the Midwest in Congress, focused her attention on the ‘minority employment in senior-level managerial positions’ within museums in major American cities.”