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Behind the Scenes

Alicestyne Turley-Adams
Alicestyne Turley-Adams
History Content Writer

Alicestyne Turley-Adams, the writer of the history section of the Web site, grew up hearing stories about her family's involvement with the Underground Railroad. There is an oral tradition that her great-grandmother Susan escaped from slavery in Alabama and married Moses Turley when she arrived in Kentucky around the time of the Civil War. Moses Turley escaped from slavery in Virginia and may have been a conductor helping others to escape from Kentucky into Ohio, according to the family history.

      Alicestyne's childhood was so steeped in these family stories that she never thought it wasn't true until she went to college. "My professors at Georgetown College considered the underground railroad folklore, not history; but they said if you don't think we're right, prove us wrong. So I became fascinated with African American history and how it's been written and interpreted to this point."

      Alicestyne has two Master's degrees, one in history and one in public administration. Alicestyne's long years of researching these topics have made her "passionate about the importance of writing things down." She hopes more people will want to document and preserve their family and community histories. "Important artifacts are being lost because no one knows they're there, or knows their importance."

      She finds the significance of the documentary is that it "adds to the knowledge that's available and gives us a new look at American history in terms of the mix of race, class, culture and gender that really went on from 1830-1860."

      The benefit of having a fuller picture of history is "it will help us better understand society today," she said. "It's unfortunate but people are basing their perceptions and becoming voters and decision-makers with an incomplete knowledge of history."

      "It's important to integrate these stories into the larger picture. African American history has been isolated and pigeon-holed; it needs to be brought into the historic fabric of America.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 09-May-2006 10:39:15 Eastern Daylight Time