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WVFAC Events

Upcoming Events:

7 p.m. November 2, 2022

Women, Work, and Activism in the Coal Mines: Stories from the Women Miners Oral History Project

A flier describing the details of this event. It has images of women in mining communities with a WVU blue filter over them. Overlaid on top are images of Emily Walter and Dr. Jessie Wilkeson. The same images are featured below.

This is an online event! Register here.

Speakers: Dr. Jessie Wilkerson and Emily Walter

The Women Miners Oral History Project aims to collect and preserve the life histories of women in the Appalachian region who entered the mines as protected workers in the late 1970s after decades of exclusion. This project is the outgrowth of a conversation between Jessie Wilkerson (WVU) and former miners Kipp Dawson, Marat Moore, and Libby Lindsay, all of whom were involved in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the Coal Employment Project (CEP), a non-profit organization that advocated for women’s entrance into industrial mines, fought discrimination that working women encountered, and organized around working-class women’s issues. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dawson, Moore, and Lindsay began organizing lists of women miners and considering ways to preserve their history, compelled by the loss of some sisters and the illness of others.

A white woman with short brown hair wearing a red collared shirt smiles in front of a brick wall.

Emily Walter is a Public History Master's Student at West Virginia University. She came to public history after becoming interested in community storytelling through her undergraduate thesis: a comic book about three women leading anti-fracking activism in southeastern Ohio. At WVU, she is honing skills in collecting oral histories, creating digital history projects, and designing exhibits to interpret our shared experiences. She is a public historian of Appalachia, labor, and environment.

A white woman with glasses and shoulder length brown hair smiles in front of a white door

Dr. Jessie Wilkerson has collaborated on or co-founded several oral history and public history projects, including the Long Women's Movement Project at the Southern Oral History Program, the Invisible Histories Project-Mississippi to document LGBTQ+ history in Mississippi, and the Black Families of Yalobusha County, MS Oral History Project at the University of Mississippi. At WVU, she is currently collaborating with former women coal miners on an oral history project documenting their lives and work, and she is on the advisory board for the West Virginia Feminist Activist History Collection.

This project is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A blue logo that reads "West Virginia Humanities Council"

Previous Events:
March 31, 2022

Engaging the Queer Feminist Archive

Speakers: Susan Ferentinos, PhD

Our understanding of the past depends on what has survived. Previous generations saved only those things they thought were important, leaving historians in the twenty-first century struggling to access marginalized voices. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) past is particularly elusive, given the stigma associated with these identities throughout most of U.S. history. In this talk, Susan Ferentinos will consider the challenges and possibilities of engaging with the history of queer feminist activism. Where do historians turn to learn about this history?  How do they address gaps in the historical record? What can archivists do to expand queer feminist collections? Drawing on thirty years of work as a queer feminist historian, Dr. Ferentinos will offer a glimpse at the wonders and mysteries of the queer feminist archive.

Susan Ferentinos is a public history researcher, writer, and consultant specializing in LGBTQ and women’s history. She is the author of Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites, which won the 2016 book award from the National Council on Public History. Her recent projects include a statewide historic context study of LGBTQ history in Maryland; a historic resource study for Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site; and a National Historic Landmark nomination for the House of the Furies, a lesbian-feminist collective in Washington, DC. Ferentinos hold a Master of Library Science degree with an emphasis on special collections and a PhD in U.S. history with an emphasis on gender and sexuality.

This project was presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

September 15, 2021

West Virginia History Makers: Black Women's Activism in the Archives

Speakers: Dr. Tamara Bailey, West Virginia Wesleyan College & Dr. Sheena Harris, West Virginia University

For this educational program, Dr. Tamara Bailey and Dr. Sheena Harris discuss the lives of Black women activists and educators from West Virginia and their use of women’s archives.  A question and answer session follows the presentations.

This project was presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The City of Charleston is provided additional support for this program. 

March 19, 2021

"Don’t Throw it Out! A conversation about documenting women, and the new Feminist Activist Archives of West Virginia and Regional History Center" 

Presented by the Art in the Libraries Virtual Program Series as a Women’s History Month Presentation

Panelists: Judith Stitzel and Carroll Wilkinson

Moderated by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director and Curator, West Virginia & Regional History Center 

Introduction by Sally Brown, Exhibits Coordinator