On February 22, in honor of Black History Month, Rose Weaver, in conjunction with Manhattan Project National Historical Park, presented an informative program on African-American involvement in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the “Secret City.”
Weaver is an active member of the Oak Ridge community and has a passion for preserving the history of the African-American presence since the city’s inception, a press release said. During the past 15 years, Weaver and her late brother, Terry Weaver, have been gathering oral histories and artifacts for a traveling exhibit to tell the stories of the rich history of Oak Ridge and to share with area youth.
She gave her program to a group of 20 young girls at Girls Inc. in Oak Ridge, the press release said. The girls are participating in a year-long educational program called Parks in Focus. The goal of the program is to educate the youths about the natural/cultural history of the area as well as basic photography skills.
“The girls were excited to hear how African-Americans had contributed to the development of Oak Ridge during the early years of World War II and how life for African-Americans was different than it is today,” the press release said. “Ms. Weaver gave a presentation that utilized many famous Ed Westcott photos along with information about several prominent African-American scientists.”
These scientists helped to develop what became the first atomic weapon, even if they were not working directly in Oak Ridge. She also spoke about several prominent local African-Americans who were instrumental in the development of Oak Ridge during and immediately following World War II. According to Weaver, “Knowing from whom we come and what our people lived through would awaken our determination and resolve, and as well embrace the untold contributions to the Secret City.”
For more information about the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, please call (865) 576-6767.
Besides Oak Ridge, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park also includes Hanford, Washington, and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.