Little Cities of Black Diamonds

LITTLE CITIES OF
BLACK DIAMONDS FEST

A Virtual History Festival

A WEEK OF VIDEOS, PICTURES AND SONGS FEATURING
THE LITTLE CITIES REGION IN THE 1920'S
OCTOBER 5TH - OCTOBER 10TH

The Little Cities in the 1920s

Welcome to Little Cities of Black Diamonds Fest! In lieu of this year’s Little Cities Day, we’ve put together a full lineup of virtual programs to celebrate the heritage of our region.

Each day from October 5 to October 10, we will post a new video featuring a different aspect of our history. Our theme this year is the 1920s. As we look back a full century, we’ll examine events of national significance and what those events meant to the people who lived here, in the little cities.

This event, and everything else Little Cities does is only possible due to donations from people like you. If you like what you see, please consider donating. Those who donate will have access to Bonus Content like documentaries, a prohibition cocktail tutorial, and more! The link to access the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt. 

Folks Songs of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds

Saturday Oct. 10th, 2020 @ 7:00pm
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Local musicians Mark and Robin Thompson have been performing on their own front porch in Hemlock, Perry County, for a number of years. This year they have generously donated several of their self-written folk songs that honor the history of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region.
All Bonus Content:  the entire festival’s bonus content is now available!  For a donation of any amount, you can see two Burr Run Production documentaries, Rendville:  Across the Color Line and Music and the Knights of Labor, the short documentary Searching for Shawnee, and a Prohibition Cocktail Tutorial video.

(The link to the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt.)

Learn more about the history of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region here.

Prohibition

Friday Oct. 9th, 2020 @ 7:00pm
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Everybody loves a good moonshining story. Learn how Straitsville Special spread far and wide in the era of prohibition. Cheryl Blosser meets up with Eric Hedin at the Black Diamond Distillery in New Straitsville, Ohio. Eric runs the Fermentation Program at Hocking College. We learn about the moonshining that aided the local economy during Prohibition and the Great Depression and how the underground mine fires aided the security of the 1920’s operations.

(The link to the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt.)

Learn more about the history of moonshine and bootlegging in the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region here.

Race & Racism in the 20's

Thursday Oct. 8th, 2020 @ 7:00pm
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We visit Rendville, Ohio, where blacks and whites lived together and Payne’s Crossing, on top of a hill near New Stratisviile, where African-Americans lived on the fringe of society. Tyler McDaniel visits David Butcher who lives near Kilvert, in eastern Athens County, Ohio, originally the community of color known as Tabler Town. Dr. William Trolliger, professor of history at University of Dayton, talks and shows archival images about the rise if the Ku Klux Klan in 1920’s America, focusing on Ohio and Southeast Ohio in particular.

Thursday’s Bonus Content:  Burr Run Production’s short documentary Rendville: Across the Color Line. 

(The link to the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt.)

Learn more about the history of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region here.

Women's Suffrage

Wednesday Oct. 7th, 2020 @ 7:00pm
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We’ve heard the national perspective, but how did the women’s suffrage movement affect the Little Cities? We take the winding road to McConnelsville, Ohio, to visit Mount Airy Mansion. This was the 19th Century home of suffragette Frances Dana Barker Gage. Rev. Galen Finley lives in this ornate 1843 residence now. Francis Dana Gage was a well-known social reformer and writer who was active in the antislavery, temperance, and women’s rights movements of the mid-19th century. We hear from historian, Lace Lynch who relays the story of Francis Dana Gage. We also see a reenactment of women voting for the first time after suffrage was won in 1920, as John Winnenberg tells of his grandmother, Hazel Post Fisher, who voted that year in Corning, Ohio

Wednesday’s Bonus Content:  Contemporary regional articles about the women’s vote. 

(The link to the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt.)

Learn more about the history of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region here.

The Decline of Coal

Tuesday Oct. 6th, 2020 @ 7:00pm
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Learn about the changes that impacted our region in the 1920s, when coal mines opened and created boom towns like New Straitsviile. The labor history comes from this southern Perry County town. Cheryl Blosser relays this story, interviewed by Tyler McDaniel from the mouth of Robinson’s Cave. John Winnenberg introduces the Knights of Labor Hall in Shawnee, while Grant Joy, at Miner’s Park in Shawnee, describes the Knights of Labor emblems, including the equatorial triangle represented three goals or philosophies. Cheryl Blosser talks about the decline of coal and the economic depression that raged across the Little Cities 10 years before the rest of the country.

Tuesday’s Bonus Content:  Music and the Knights of Labor, a Burr Run Productions documentary on the music and history of the labor movement and the Knights of Labor in Ohio’s Appalachian foothills.  Run Time:  30 minutes.
(The link to the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt.)

The Tecumseh Theater

Monday Oct. 5th, 2020 @ 7:00pm
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Grant Joy talks to history-geographer Tyler McDaniel about The Tecumseh Theater.  It was recently renovated and restored.  Three stories, the hall was a cultural center for Shawnee from its inception. Grant Joy talks to history-geographer, Tyler McDaniel about this story, the current state of repair.  Join as as we tour the building and its historic artifacts from the silent film era.

Monday’s Bonus Content:  “Finding Shawnee,” a short documentary about the Little City of Shawnee, Ohio.
**The link to the bonus content will be on your emailed receipt.**

Schedule of Events

Monday, October 5 • The Tecumseh Theater
We’ll feature the history of Shawnee and its historic theater on Main Street. Don’t miss the live streamed tour of the theater at 7pm!

Tuesday, October 6 • The Decline of Coal
Learn about the changes that impacted our region in the 1920s, when coal mines left and the labor movement stood strong.

Wednesday, October 7 • Women’s Suffrage
We’ve heard the national perspective, but how did the women’s suffrage movement affect the Little Cities? We’ll explore the impact of this monumental event on our own communities.

Thursday, October 8 • Race and Racism in the Little Cities
We’re taking a deep look at the history of race and racism in our region. From the presence of the Klan to the many ethnic communities, find out how our race relationships have made us who we are today.

Friday, October 9 • The Prohibition Era
Everybody loves a good moonshining story. Learn how Straitsville Special spread far and wide in the era of prohibition.

Saturday, October 10 • Songs of the 1920s
Our final night spotlights folk music in our region, with new performances from local musicians.

+ Exclusive bonus content for donors!

Help Keep History Alive

Please consider making a donation to help us continue documenting our history. As a special thanks, those who donate during Little Cities of Black Diamonds Fest will receive exclusive daily Bonus Content.

Thank You to Our Sponsors