The Front Page News

Crossing The River
African Americans in Southeastern Ohio

August 8-9, 2016

Crossing The River Logo

The Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council joins with Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, Rendville Historic Preservation Society, Mutlicultural Genealogical Center, Athens County Historical Society (Southeastern Ohio History Center), and the Ohio University College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio University’s African American Studies program and Center for Campus and Community Engagement to present this groundbreaking two-day bus tour!


Provocative stories of courage, creativity & accomplishment!

Guides who are intimate with the past & current story!

Excellent food, entertainment and accommodations!

Hidden in the steep hills and narrow valleys of southeastern Ohio are remarkable stories of men and women who bravely broke the color barrier after they and their families crossed the Ohio River into Ohio’s Hill Country throughout the 19th and 20th Century. The region’s relatively homogeneous population does not lead one to expect stories of state and national significance involving African Americans. However, to the contrary, abundant examples exist that still impact the region today.   Join a spirited group of guides, ranging from community organizers and descendants of early trailblazers, to scholars and contemporary leaders as this landmark experience will give consideration to events and sites dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Learn about Quakers and the Underground Railroad at Chesterhill, Ohio’s first public university and a black only academy at Albany in Athens County, the African American experience in Ohio’s second state capital at Zanesville, and an accidental social experiment during the coal boom era at Rendville where African Americans became pioneers in the nation’s labor union movement.   This guided bus tour includes lodging at the scenic Burr Oak State Park Lodge, a taste of regional foods and performance, and visits to African American churches, cemeteries and to the region’s pride and joy, Ohio University, where many early African American milestones were set.

The Details:

Location: Tour begins and ends at Burr Oak State Park Lodge, 10660 Burr Oak Lodge Road • Glouster, Ohio 45732.

Time: 9AM Monday, August 8 to 6PM, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cost: $195 per person (includes 4 meals: lunch-dinner August 8, breakfast-lunch August 9 and transportation).  Register by phone or e-mail by contacting us (see contact) or on-line at Event Brite. Fees apply to on-line registering.  Registration does not include lodging.

Lodging: $95/105 per room (single/double occupancy) @ Burr Oak Lodge.  To receive this rate, you must register directly through Ohio Hill Country or on-line at Event Brite.  Lodging option is at bottom of Even Brite registration page.

Contact: Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area; P O. Box 114; Shawnee, Ohio 43782; or call 740-707-1775 or 740-394-2852.

Note: This tour involves significant van/bus travel on winding roads and requires moderate amounts of walking with some uneven surfaces.

Click here for full details including a tentative itinerary!


Anthropology Alive At Buchtel St. Patrick’s Cemetery!  

Purchase Workshop-Tour Ticket Here!

Have you ever considered being an anthropologist for a day?  Anthropologists examine humans and human culture in all their diversity.  The Appalachia Population History Project is a long term research project with the aim of examining local history and culture conducted by Dr. Nancy Tatarek and her students in the Anthropology program at the Ohio University College of Arts & Sciences.  Begun two years ago, the project combines archival, genealogy research and cemetery field studies to form a picture of local population history. The project has recently included focused attention on the health and medical records of coal miners and their families in the Little Cities of Black Diamonds community of Buchtel, located near Nelsonville in northern Athens County.
Visitors participating in Anthropology Alive! will learn how such research is conducted. The experience will begin at Ohio University in the Anthropology Department.  Participants will receive a brief training session focusing on the project and its research.  By afternoon you will become part of the research team! Assisted by Dr. Tatarek and her students, you will help locate the records and history of one of the historical families in the project.  After the classroom session, the group will move to St. Patrick’s Cemetery to connect the records with the stones found there.  Dr. Tatarek will also provide a short synopsis of some field research techniques.  Lunch and transportation is provided during this day long experience.  Purchase your tour ticket by clicking here!

Tickets can also be purchased by contacting the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council office at 740-394-3011 or via e-mail at
Bring drinking water, sturdy shoes & cameras.  Cemetery may not be accessible to physically challenged individuals and is not wheelchair accessible.   Building, room number and parking arrangements in Athens will be shared at time of registration.

Anthropology Alive Flier___________________________

Appalachian Spring 2016 Calendar

Appalachian Spring 2016 Poster   ___________________________

Jesse Henry

Purchase Advance Tickets Here!

Jesse Henry In Concert June 11th!

Columbus area singer-songwriter Jesse Henry visits the Tecumseh Commons in Shawnee on Saturday evening, June 11 at 8pm, as the final event of this year’s Appalachian Spring Series!    Henry is best know around the Columbus and Athens music scenes as lead singer for the Spike Drivers, a long-standing popular rock and roll staple in Ohio’s capital city.  The Spike Drivers held their final concert earlier this year and Jesse is now embarking on a new path which includes more time in the Appalachian Foothills of southeastern Ohio.  Jesse will bring young talent Chloe Hotstetler to the stage with him on June 11th.  Expect an eclectic mix of hard driving rock-n-roll, folk rock and acoustic music throughout the evening.  Henry’s contagious smile and engaging personality will leave you energized and alive!

Join Henry and guides at 5PM for a pre-concert hike on the Buckeye Trail in the Wayne Forest passing by Tecumseh Lake.  This hike will include a tour of the upstairs opera house portion of the Tecumseh Theater above the Commons.  This space awaits restoration and the June 11th concert benefits that process.  Contributions for the guided hike will go to the Buckeye Trail Association whose headquarters are located in Shawnee.

Henry will feature the song and video, Old Shawnee, that was written earlier this Spring during a WoodSongs! songwriting experience that he hosted in Shawnee.  Tickets for the June 11th concert can be purchased on-line here, or a ticket outlets at Hannah Brothers Furniture in Shawnee, Dodsons on Broaday and Newlon Tire in New Lexington, A New View, Corning, Insea Music, Nelsonville and Hoffa Records Athens.

Doors open at 7:30pm.  Cold beer and food will be available for sale.  Minors accompanied by parents are welcome.  No outside alcohol please!

The Tecumseh Commons is located at 114-116 West Main Street, Shawnee, Ohio 43782.  Shawnee is located in the Wayne Forest at the intersection of Ohio State Route 93 & 155 in southern Perry County–60 miles southeast of Columbus and 25 miles north of Athens.

Jesse Henre 6.11.16 Concert Poster.jpg   ___________________________

Membership Matters!

insidearchive'Don’t forget to become a member or renew your Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council Membership for 2016.  Membership keeps our annual calendar of events, archive and tour services alive!  Call us at 740-394-3011 or e-mail us at to to join via phone or receive a membership card.  Individual/Family memberships are $20, Business/Organization membership are $35 and Supporting memberships are $100.  Send checks or money order to Little Cities of Black Diamonds; P. O. Box 128; Shawnee, Ohio  43782.  We thank you in advance for your support!


Print Edition of Miners Registry Available

minerregistryWe have exceed 7,000 names in our Miners of the Little Cities Registry and the Second Edition is now available in a printed version.  This edition features a sampling of pictures and quotes from miners.  Purchase price is $15 each.  To place your order contact the Little Cities office at 740-394-3011 or via e-mail at

In the mean time check the registry out on-line.  If you or a family member or descendant work or have worked in the coal mining industry in Hocking, Athens, Perry or Morgan Counties and don’t find your name in the registry, please download the registry form available on this web site and return as soon as possible.  We make regular updates to the on-line registry throughout the year. 


Black Diamond Press 2016

Read the full version of this year’s Black Diamond Press by clicking here!