- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A dedication ceremony has been held for three tall plaques that tell the stories of several African-Americans in Lincoln since the first black settlers arrived in the 1870s.

Nearly 150 people, including Mayor Chris Beutler, attended the Sunday ceremony for the History of the Malone Neighborhood Plaque Project at Trago Park. The 9-foot-tall plaques are made of laminated plastic and were built with support from the Woods Charitable Fund, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1LeSYOT) reported.

Director Larry Williams of the Malone Community Center describes the plaques as a “mini storybook.”

One of the stories featured on the panels is that of Ruth Cox Adams, who used the pseudonym “Harriet Bailey” and fled Maryland to Massachusetts on the Underground Railroad. Adams was a fugitive slave who moved to Omaha and farmed near Ewing, before ultimately moving to Lincoln.

Rev. Karla J. Cooper of the Quinn Chapel AME Church, who was the event’s main speaker, urged attendees to remember the plights blacks faced years ago. Before the city formed Trago Park, the land provided the foundation for many African-American homes in the Malone neighborhood.



Many of those residents were forced out of the neighborhood due to discriminatory housing laws in the 1960s.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation hired historian Tekla Ali Johnson to gather research for the plaques project with Williams, of the Malone Community Center. Others who also helped with the project include, former and current Malone residents; planners Abigail Anderson and Edward Zimmer; and Katie Blesener from Big Muddy Workshop.

“We couldn’t tell nearly everyone’s story,” Zimmer said. “But we told many.”

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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