B-CU and MOAS Partnership is Made for History

Bethune-Cookman University is proud of the relationships it has built with community organizations, churches, and businesses. It is through our mutually supportive partnerships that not only do our students, but also Daytona Beach and communities throughout Central Florida, flourish.

Earlier this year, the B-CU History department rekindled its relationship with the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) in Daytona Beach. The MOAS is the primary art, science, and history museum in Central Florida. It is nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.

B-CU’s renewed relationship with MOAS was forged in a $4,000 Florida Humanities Community Project grant that will be used to enhance B-CU’s Oral History Collection. B-CU will create videos, podcasts and blogs based on themes of racial injustice and democracy, specifically funding the publishing of oral histories. Materials of mutual interest will be shared with MOAS.

Upon hearing the news, Mr. Andrew Sandall, executive director of MOAS, reached out B-CU to express his enthusiasm in the partnership. “With a mission to inspire, cultivate curiosity, and promote lifelong learning in arts, sciences and history, MOAS is eager to work with Bethune-Cookman University in preserving and expanding their Oral History Collection” Mr. Sandall said.

Dr. Richard Buckelew, associate professor of history & social science education at B-CU, and Mr. James Zacharias, senior curator of Education and curator of History at MOAS, will serve as Humanities Scholars on the project.

Dr. Jeannette Ford, associate professor of history, spearheaded the application process that ultimately landed B-CU this notable grant. Shortly after joining the B-CU faculty in 2001, Dr. Ford noted the need for a formal history collection at the university. In response, she created an oral history course to prepare for Bethune-Cookman University’s Centennial in 2004.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune History

“The project has grown into a large collection of five ongoing projects with the bulk of the work done by students in my HI 130 African-American History and HI 253 Oral History classes,” Dr. Ford said. “Our popular History major has the concentration, Public History, which not only teaches research and effective intergenerational communication, but helps to create a narrative for Black historical regenerative possibility.”

“In brief, hundreds of students have worked creating primary resource documents since 2001 in HI 253 Oral History, HI 130 African American History and more recently in HI 350 Grantsmanship,” she continued. “At present, my Robert Frederick Smith Fund summer interns are drawing from the core of the B-CU Oral History Collection to create a 90-second kiosk-style video for placement at the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune exhibit in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington DC. This is especially meaningful as Dr. Bethune’s statue will be inducted into the Capitol Statuary Hall in 2022.”

Dr. Ford said she was excited to work with MOAS and hopes the project will put the spotlight and promote discussion on the African American history of Daytona Beach. “The Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) venue can serve to engage public discussion and constructive dialogue,” she said. “The B-CU Oral History Collection studies the African American history of Daytona Beach and Mary McLeod Bethune, the impact of 1960s urban renewal, Bethune Beach, and the relationship between car racing and racism in Daytona Beach and many other topics. MOAS has a significant social media presence from which to publicize programs highlighting the stories of men and women who have been community pillars, and the historical and contemporary issues of voting rights.”

Dr. Ford added that the intent is to also have community programs at various locations, such as the Dickerson Center Senior Oasis, B-CU campus Program, Midtown Cultural Center, City Island Library, in addition to informative sessions at MOAS about the collection.

Oral History : Dr. Bethune

In conjunction with this effort, the Department of Languages, Histories, and Cultures Studies also hopes to initiate an internship program with the museum for the benefit of English, history and interdisciplinary studies majors who are in a degree program that falls under the department.

As the new partnership emerges, Dr. Ford said she is thrilled to be part of such a historical effort that not only benefits B-CU and MOAS, but the Daytona Beach community as well.

“I am motivated by being able to capture individuals’ wisdom and be part of passing it on,” Dr. Ford said. “Stories from my Italian immigrant mother and my WWII Battle of the Bulge veteran father were subjects of hours of storytelling when I was growing up.”

“This is my favorite quote about oral history in a book by Louis Gottschalk, Understanding History (1969):

‘Most human affairs happen without leaving vestiges or records of any kind behind them. The past, having happened, has perished with only occasional traces. To begin with, although the absolute number of historical writings is staggering, only a small part of what happened in the past was ever observed. And only a part of what was observed in the past was remembered by those who observed it; only a part of what was remembered was recorded; only a part of what was recorded has survived; only a part of what survived has come to the historians’ attention; only a part of what has come to their attention is credible; only a part of what is credible has been grasped; and only a part of what has been grasped can be expounded or narrated by the historian.’"