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Atkins staff participate in Historic Rosedale event

A man shows three people some papers

Library staff were invited by Historic Rosedale to participate in “The Gathering,” an event held on August 13 to honor the descendants of those who were enslaved at Rosedale or worked at the site post-Emancipation. 

On this monumental occasion, Historic Rosedale welcomed members of the Caldwell, Knox, and Klutz families from near and far. As attendees arrived, a chorus of greetings and laughter could be heard around the historic site as different branches of the family met each other, some for the very first time. 

The program consisted of house tours, a genealogy research workshop led by John H. Sadler, and a moving ceremony honoring the ancestors. In addition, Atkins’ Special Collections team conducted oral history interviews with family members and set up scanning stations to digitize family material for preservation at our archives and for family use after the event. We returned the materials to the respective families and provided them with high-resolution scans.

As descendants and staff enjoyed lunch and the workshop facilitated by Mr. Sadler, some attendees looked over the six family trees showcased in the gathering space. The research for this family tree spanned several years and included efforts from staff, volunteers, and descendants. Sylvia Marshall, Atkins’ Digitization Intern for African American History, worked with Historic Rosedale’s African American Legacy Committee and staff to broaden this research and expand the family tree. Descendants at the event were given the opportunity to correct any mistakes or add to the family tree. 

Along with Ms. Marshall, a Spring master’s graduate of UNC Charlotte’s Public History program, the Library’s team consisted of Adreonna Bennett, Community Engagement Archivist; Tyler Cline, Digital Archivist; Stacy Rue, Digital Production Assistant; Dawn Schmitz, Associate Dean for Special Collections & University Archives; and Tina Wright, Oral History Interviewer.

“The Gathering” provided an amazing opportunity for preserving oral and material family histories and expanding upon the knowledge of African Americans at Historic Rosedale. We are proud to have been invited to participate in such an important event.

- Adreonna Bennett

Photo: Photo: Thomas Knox left) shares his genealogy research with Elizabeth Myers, Site Director  at Historic Rosedale, Sylvia Marshall, and Adreonna Bennett.