Black History Month comes to courthouse

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By Kellie Parkin

Clerk of Court Danny Shipp unveiled a photographic display commemorating Black History Month in the Levy County Courthouse lobby Friday morning. The display consists of portraits of area families and individuals, including Captain Dan McQueen, born in 1860, and Jesse “Joe” Jones who died last year at the age of 100.

This is the seventh year Shipp has teamed with local historian Carolyn Cohens to celebrate Levy County’s Black History.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to share with others the wonderful legacy that we’ve been left to follow here in our Levy County, Florida.”

More than 25 community members attended the presentation, many of whom are descendants of the people in the displayed photographs. Johnnie Brown, Fannie Bernard and Sharon Battles were among those who spoke of their childhood and relatives with love, remembrance and humor.

The exhibit, on display in the courthouse through February, offers viewers a glimpse of Levy County life in the late 19th century through the mid-20th century.

A lifelong resident of Chiefland, Cohens has been collecting pieces of black history her whole life, and authored a book in 2006 comprised of many of those stories and photos. Black America Series: Levy County, Florida is part of a nation-wide series of more than 80 books by Arcadia publishing.

Her next book project, part of the series “Images of America” will focus on much of Levy County’s Caucasian history and is expected to be completed in the next year.