The Dominion Post  

Google highlights WVU professor’s virtual exhibit

Created on:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   1:37 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   1:37 PM

Submitted to The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — A worldwide audience can view a WVU researcher’s work on Appalachia’s African American history on his virtual exhibit “Soldiers of the Coalfields: The Hidden Stories of Black Appalachians in WWI,” one of 100 stories highlighted by the Google Cultural Institute in celebration of Black History Month.

Joel Beeson, an associate professor at the WVU Reed College of Media, created the online gallery that chronicles the stories of African Americans who migrated to McDowell County in the early 1900s to work in the coal mines and then went on to serve in the U.S. military. The town of Kimball is home to one of the nation’s earliest World War I memorials honoring black soldiers.

Beeson’s project is featured on the Google Arts & Culture website alongside the National African American Museum of History and Culture, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution and the King Center.

“Being featured during Black History Month, along with major cultural institutions around the world, is so important to counter the stereotypes of ‘white Appalachia’ with rich and diverse histories of its people,” Beeson said. “This elevates those stories to international prominence.”

Information or documents concerning African American WWI veterans from West Virginia can be shared with Beeson at or 304-293-6757.