Local historian to explore Walker County's Black history in new TV show

TV screen tile / Photo courtesy of Getty Images

In the past, says Walker County native Beverly Foster, many discussions on history in Northwest Georgia have been centered on antebellum families and the Confederacy. But as president of the Walker County African American Historical & Alumni Association, Foster hopes to bring to light the vast history of Black people in the area, especially through her new local TV show.

"Beverly's Historical Moments" will premiere on Fort Oglethorpe's UCTV Thursday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.

The first episode will feature the topic of "Historical Collaboration," highlighting how local groups have worked together over the years to explore, document and otherwise bring the history of Northwest Georgia to life for the community at large.

Dr. David Boyle, PhD., president of the Walker County Historical Society, and Connie Forester, a local historian and community leader, will join Foster to answer questions and discuss the area's long history.

Foster said that many times, people she interacts with online and in person can't believe some of the historical events that happened, things they were never taught in schools, and that she receives positive feedback for her attempts to provide more context and information.

"[On Facebook] they join and they love to learn about a whole bunch of things they didn't know about," she said in reference to the historical society's Facebook page. "Sometimes when I have of stuff to do [and don't post] they say 'Ms. Foster, why aren't you posting something?'"

Foster said she is driven by a need to inform others about the rich history of African Americans in the area beyond just slavery. In the past, she has set up small exhibits to showcase different facets of Black life in North Georgia, including the area's first Masonic Lodge and local Black residents' contributions during World War I.

She is also working on a project to bring a new memorial on the history of lynching in the area to Walker County, a project slated to be completed by the end of the year.

"If we don't record history, history is being lost," she said. "We need to preserve and tell people about our history in the area because it's just not being told. And if we don't, who else is going to tell it?"

With her new TV show and through her social media presence, she hopes to reach not just older demographics, who usually show interest in historical societies, but a younger generation as well.

The show is slated to run every other week starting Aug. 20, and may run reruns on its off-week. The show will air on channel UCTV 265/198 in Fort Oglethorpe and will also be available online at uctv265.com/streaming.html or on the station's Facebook page @uctvlive.

While Foster's primary focus will be on the stories of Black residents from the area's past, she said the show will occasionally feature Native and European American history. The show is being sponsored by the Bank of LaFayette.

Contact Tierra Hayes at tierrathejournalist@gmail.com.