Ocmulgee National Park to host ranger series for Black History Month

Ocmulgee National Park to host ranger series for Black History Month

Image: Jamie Benson

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is hosting its fourth consecutive Black History Month series delivered by ranger Lonnie Davis. 

Davis will deliver a series of five talks that cover the following topics: Slavery: Foundation for a New Nation, Reconstruction: Revising a Nation, Jim Crow Era: Racial Segregation, Civil Rights Movement: We Shall Overcome and Women’s Equality: Hear Me Roar. 

Davis is the cultural resources specialist and historian for Ocmulgee National Park and a 21-year Army veteran. Davis started the Black History series when he noticed that there are “parts of the past people simply don’t know.”

The series event flyer says “reconstruction … is one of the most complicated, poorly understood and most significant periods in American history. The intent was to rebuild the South and rearrange the state and federal governments to accommodate changing times … what actually happened is much different.”  

Davis has been with Ocmulgee National Park for 18 years. Part of Davis’ job as cultural resources specialist is to educate the public on local history that has been forgotten or left untold. 

Davis said he is particularly interested in the history of African American soldiers in the Civil War. In previous years of the ranger series, he educated the public on the Georgia African Brigade, which contained over 3,000 African American men, then former slaves, who were recruited into the Union military.

“Most people don’t know about the three regiments that were organized right here in Macon,” he said. 

Davis conducted extensive research on the Macon-based regiments of the Georgia African Brigade, compiling the names and identities of hundreds of soldiers. In doing so, he hoped to unveil information from a historical standpoint as well as provide information to utilize for tracing family lineage. 

His research was under the National Parks Service’s “Civil War to Civil Rights” initiative that took place from 2011 to 2015. One goal of the national initiative was to “help Americans understand the connection between these two epic periods of time as a continuous march toward freedom and equality for all–a march that continues still today,” according to the National Parks Service.

Davis will touch on this area of history and others at his Black History series. Anyone interested can attend the talks which take place every Saturday in February from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Visitor’s Center. Attendance is free.

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is located at 1207 Emery Highway.