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Arts & Culture

Montana Historical Society To Produce Documentary About African Americans

MHS Photo
Montana Historical Society
Photographic print of African-American Yellowstone National Park Canyon Hotel waiters and river, 1901

The Montana Historical Society (MHS) received a $50,000 grant last week to produce a short documentary about the history of African Americans in Montana.

The documentary will feature oral histories and highlight historic places, drawing from past research while sharing new discoveries about Montana’s African American history.

Kate Hampton, a Montana State Historic Preservation Office historian, says the documentary will be the next step in documenting the African American experience in Montana, research that started at MHS in 2006.

"And with this latest phase of the project we realized, okay, now we have this really great primary and secondary cache of information and we wanted to make people more aware that these collections existed and that the history of African American people in Montana is relevant and important and has been since the territory became Montana," Hampton said.

The grant, along with funding from the National Park Service, Humanities Montana and the Montana Cultural Trust, will also allow MHS to expand the Identifying Montana’s African American Heritage website.

The National Trust for Preservation awarded the grant as part of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, which was established in 2017 after the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The premiere date for the documentary is Aug. 2021.