The Milford Area Black Heritage Project was held at the Milford Firefighter’s Community Hall Feb. 25.
Several hundred people attended the festival, which was designed to coincide with the conclusion of black history month. The event was sponsored by the Milford Ebenezer Baptist Church, and was held under the direction of event chairperson Karen Gans-McKitric and Ebenezer Church associate Rev. Thomas Graves Jr.
This is the first year that the church has done this as a community project, but the Ebenezer Church has been doing a black history program for nearly 20 years.
“A friend of mine named Doris Buckner and I were on retreat together and we were talking about ways to commemorate black history,” said Gans-McKitric. “We came up with the black heritage project idea and it grew from there.”
Guests were invited to view many exhibits and local/national black history displays; those in attendance had the opportunity to learn about milestones in black history, kings and queens throughout the ages, slavery, music and entertainment, the underground railroad and its conductors, sports figures, military heroes, explorers, social reformers, local African Americans, and inventors.
African Americans invented the flushing toilet, the ironing board, the golf tee, and the refrigerated truck, to name only a few.
"This event is so important because it is a way for us to celebrate our heritage," said Graves. "It gives the black and the white community the opportunity to actually see what black Americans have contributed to society; black Americans are not just singers, dancers, and athletes. We are doctors, lawyers, scientists, movie producers, and politicians."
Included in the festival was "A Walk Through Black History," an exhibit which received an achievement award in the exhibit/display category from the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museum.
The ultimate goal of the Milford Area Black Heritage Project is to educate and inform people about the achievements and accomplishments of black Americans, Graves said.
"There have been many black Americans that have lived and worked in the Milford area since the early 1800's," he said. "This showcase project will let people know that there is a very prominent, proud, and vital black community in the city of Milford."
Participating in the Milford Area Black History Project were the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Buckwheat Church of God, Calvary Methodist, Miami Baptist, the First Church of God on Buckwheat Road, St. Paul AME, Milford First Methodist, and the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Camp Dennison.