Drummer Harold Jones has toured the world with musicians such as Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole and Count Basie, but he’ll provide different kinds of notes when he returns to his hometown next weekend.

Marlene Lindsey

Jones will be the keynote speaker for Wayne County Historical Museum’s signature dinner and exhibit premier at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24. Marlene Lindsey, who founded Black Legacy Project of Wayne County, also will share rarely heard stories about local people.

The next day marks the exhibit’s public debut and includes several activities at 1150 N. A St., Richmond. Admission is free that day, thanks to a grant from Indiana Landmarks.

Jones will chat with residents from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 25, and sign copies of “Harold Jones: The Singer’s Drummer” that chronicles his Richmond upbringing and life on the road.

Additional highlights that day include crafts, games, music, food trucks, a scavenger hunt, trivia, outreach tables featuring local organizations, re-enactors from Free Town Village portraying various Black residents, and a talk by Alex Painter about his book “Blackball” featuring Richmond’s Negro baseball leagues.

The weekend’s activities kick off with Black Legacy Project’s new golf outing Friday at Elks Country Club.

About the exhibit 

The museum has partnered with Black Legacy Project of Wayne County to recognize local Black residents who’ve worked in medicine, law, business, aviation, education, religion, firefighting, athletics and other influential careers.

The exhibit, called “Our Legacy: 1800 and Beyond,” will continue through Spring 2024.

Video elements allow visitors to learn stories firsthand through oral histories collected by Black Legacy Project.

A scavenger hunt will help visitors find all the stories throughout the museum and community building.

Some exhibit elements will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

After receiving 501(c)3 status in 2022, Lindsey visited the museum and shared a need for a platform to tell these local stories.

WCHM “was happy to step up, as these were stories we had not historically told,” said Director Karen Shank-Chapman in a news release. “It is important to us that the stories come from those who lived them, and for all visitors from Wayne County and beyond to see reflections of themselves within our museum.”

Lindsey said Black Legacy Project leaders are “more than excited” to partner with WCHM.

“Our team may have done the bulk of the research, gathering of artifacts, and made the connections to people who can tell about our history – but the expertise and enthusiasm of the staff at the museum putting all those pieces together will truly make this an amazing exhibit for everyone to discover, appreciate, and enjoy,” Lindsey said.

WCHM Board Member Dianna Kirksey said the exhibit celebrates the richness of Wayne County’s culture by highlighting historic people and places.

“The rich history of Wayne County reminds us of the contributions made by African Americans to our community,” Kirksey said. “Our Black history lives on through public records, photographs and newspaper articles and I am excited to learn more about the Black/African American heritage of this area.”

First Bank Richmond is the presenting sponsor, and Wayne County Foundation provided support with a grant funded by the Charles and Maxine Matthews Education Fund. 

If you go

Premier of “Our Legacy: 1800 and Beyond” exhibit and dinner

  • When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24. Reservations are due June 17.
  • Where: Wayne County Historical Museum tent, 1150 N. A St., Richmond
  • Cost: $75 per person (includes meal from Olde Richmond Inn).
  • Tickets: Purchase at museum or wchmuseum.org (service charge added)

Public exhibit opening and activities

  • When: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 25
  • Where: Wayne County Historical Museum
  • Cost: Free admission.
  • Info: 765-962-5756
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A version of this article appeared in the June 14 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.