May 29, 2014


Grand Opening of Archives and Special Collections Room June 3

Northeast Alabama Community College is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Archives and Special Collections Division of the Cecil B. Word Learning Resources Center on June 3, 2014, at 10 a.m. The Special Collections Division features resources important to the cultural history of DeKalb and Jackson counties and the Northeast Alabama region.

“Our region has a very unique history,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “We want to preserve and highlight this history with the resources in this collection. Dr. Julia Everett (LRC Director) and Mr. Blake Wilhelm (Archivist) have done a great job in getting this facility established and underway.”

Recently renovated, the Archives and Special Collections room houses numerous books, and equipment useful to researchers, including microfilm rolls, three computers, a printer, a microfilm reader, and more. Electronic resources will soon be available online through Alabama Mosaic.

Many of the books were from the personal collection of Mrs. Gail Tate King. King, who passed away in 2012, was an accomplished archaeologist and an instructor at Northwest Shoals Community College whose specialty was Native Americans, particularly the Cherokees and the Trail of Tears. King was an active member of the Alabama Trail of Tears Association.

“It is significant that our first major collection in the Special Collections Division would pertain to the Trail of Tears,” Wilhelm said. “This event is very important in our local history and parts of the original Trail of Tears passed in our area.” Wilhelm anticipates researchers from throughout the Southeast and nation coming to Northeast to go through the Trail of Tears resources.

Campbell noted that the entire Special Collections project at Northeast began when local members of the Trail of Tears Committee approached him about housing a collection of materials pertaining to the event at Northeast. He in particular thanked Olivia Cox of Fort Payne for initiating this discussion. “We are excited about the great possibilities the Special Collections Division provides,” Campbell said. “Our heritage is laced with many great Appalachian traditions that are unusual for the state of Alabama. It is always a thrill to help people find their cultural identity and we are very hopeful that the Special Collections Division will lead to that.”

Also on display that day will be Native American artifacts from the private collection of Larry Benefield. Wilhelm noted that Benefield’s generosity in loaning NACC the artifacts are an example of the collaboration he, Dr. Everett, and Dr. Campbell envisioned when creating the Archives and Special Collections room.

The Special Collection materials also include a copy of the original court appeal transcripts for the Scottsboro Boys Trial, presented by former NACC Dean John Paul Campbell.
The transcripts bring to life the trial that has been identified as one of the most important ones in American history.

Wilhelm said, “I hope that the Archives and Special Collections Division will serve as a valuable resource for K-12 teachers, community organizations, and researchers from both inside and outside the local area.”

The public is cordially invited to attend this grand opening.

For more information about the event, contact Wilhelm by email at or by phone at ext. 2288.

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Dr. Julia Everett, Director of the LRC at NACC, and Blake Wilhelm, LRC Archivist, examine two of the many artifacts that will be on display at the June 3 grand opening.