Local Institutions as Resources
This will be a panel featuring guests from local institutions talking about the resources they offer. The guest panelists will be Richie Davis, retired journalist with The Greenfield Recorder and author and local researcher Carol Aleman.
Richie Davis, who retired as The Greenfield Recorder’s senior writer in 2019, had served as a reporter and editor at the newspaper for more than 42 years, and was awarded more than 35 regional news and feature-writing awards. As an environmental and energy reporter, he wrote about two proposed gas pipeline projects, the region’s two nuclear plants, energy alternatives, and was twice awarded for overall agricultural overage and named a Local Hero by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
Richie, who came to Franklin County from Genesee Valley Newspapers in suburban Rochester, N.Y. after visiting a Shelburne dairy farm for a week, has also served as Arts and Weekend editor at Springfield newspapers.
His coverage of a cultural bridging effort between Franklin County, MA and Letcher County, KY was awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and he has served as an advisor for Pulitzer’s Reporting Fellowship program. He’s been a Commager lecturer at Greenfield College and has spoken in the Charlemont Forum on the media.
He recently released his second collection of Recorder articles, “Good Will & Ice Cream,” a sequel to last year’s “Inner Landscapes.” He blogs at https://richiedavis.net.
Carol Aleman grew up in Shelburne and spent her early years mostly unaware of the rich history that lay within the hills and valleys and along the streets and meadows of the county she called home. Instead, she roamed the pastures of the family’s dairy farm and tended to the calves and heifers. For decades the word “history” had come to mean little more than sitting in Mr. Lang’s junior class petrified of being called upon and not knowing “the correct answer.” It wasn’t until fifty years later, as she edged closer to her 2018 retirement from the Five College Consortium in Amherst, that the lingering fear gave way to a fresh interest – in local history. She began to volunteer for the historical society in Greenfield. She even surprised herself by adding courses in history to her lifelong learning experience.
On discovering there was little in Greenfield’s formal written history that addressed people of color, Carol began a very personal mission to identify as many members as possible of Greenfield’s black population of the past with an eye toward who they were, what their lives were like, and how they had participated in and contributed to community life. Marrying into a Black family in 1972, she was equipped with a starting point and despite the divorce that came to follow, she stayed close to the O’Hare family. Over the next four decades, they shared fragments of their past and prepared her for the quest she would later take on and the goals she would later pursue.
Carol will speak about her research and the resources at local (and not so local) historical societies that have graced her path.