Exhibit Opening: African American Lead Miners in Wisconsin

Sun, October 1, 20176:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Portrait of James Williams

Join us for a celebration of the new exhibit with light appetizers and punch.  A short presentation by the students, Dr. Tesdahl, and Museum staff will begin at 6:30 pm.

The Museums are adding stories about freed and enslaved African-American miners to our lead mining exhibits and mine tour this Fall. We knew that some of the early lead miners in the region were African American, and some enslaved, but we didn’t know their individual stories until we got some help from college students this past Spring. “Being able to tell a more complete and inclusive story about regional lead mining is inherently important to our mission of interpreting and presenting the history of Southwest Wisconsin,” says Museum Director Diana Bolander. “Thanks to these students, we are doing our jobs better.”

The lead boom brought over 100 African Americans to the region. Tori Kosobucki, Simone Rand, Deja Roberson, Winifred Redfearn, and Elizabeth Larrison, under the tutelage of Professor Eugene Tesdahl at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, scoured local archives for information about these miners. Dr. Tesdahl developed final exhibit text over the summer.  “We’re not putting them in for political correctness. We’re putting them in because they really lived, worked, retired and died a lead miner in Wisconsin,” Tesdahl said.

Photo: Portrait of James Williams, an African-American man who owned a mine near Belmont, courtesy of the Iowa County Historical Society.