Please join us on our pursuit to #SaveTheLittleWhiteHouse. By donating to our Rendville Historical Preservation Society fundraiser, you will be contributing to the preservation and revitalization of one of Rendville’s oldest and recognizable landmarks. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the conversion of the Little White House into a museum for future generations.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION
RELIVE and REVIVE RENDVILLE
RENDVILLE REMINISCE DAY
Immediately following our March meeting, we will be conducting interviews with persons from all age groups with any Rendville connections.
We wanna hear about everything! From the oral family history to the childhood pranks🤪 and adventures.😊
- What are some memories that you have from your time spent in Rendville?
- Why is it important for future generations to preserve Rendville?
- Click below for more details…
Book Review Praises Richard L. Davis Book by Frans Doppen
Dedication to the Rendville story is no better exemplified than by RHPS Board Treasurer and Ohio University Professor Frans Doppen. Enjoy the strong review his book received below from the Journal of Southern History.
Richard L. Davis and the Color Line in Ohio Coal: A Hocking Valley Mine Labor Organizer, 1862–1900.
By Frans H. Doppen. Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies. (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 2016. Pp. viii, 184. $29.95, ISBN 978-1-4766-6739-3.)
Volume 84, No. 1; Journal of Southern History
Much has been written on union organizers’ bitter struggle to establish collective bargaining in the coal mines of central and southern Appalachia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mine operators regularly employed deprivation, intimidation, black and white strikebreakers, violence, and murder to enforce their will. Thus, one can imagine the enormity of the challenges facing an
African American coal mine labor organizer during this era. Yet, this is the task Richard L. Davis took on “among his ‘colored brothers’” in the “microregion known as the Little Cities of Black Diamonds,” located in southeastern Ohio’s Hocking River Valley (p. 1). As a founding member of and a delegate representing District 6 of the United Mine Workers (UMW), an organization that Davis believed “did more than any other to break the color line,” Davis traveled throughout the contested coal-mining regions of southeastern Ohio, southern West Virginia, and Alabama to recruit miners to the group’s cause.
Born in 1862 in Roanoke County, Virginia, Davis began working at a tobacco factory when he was eight years old and attended school in the winters. Approximately ten years later, “‘disgusted with the very low wage rate and other unfavorable conditions of a Southern tobacco factory,’” Davis left (p. 16). After sojourns in the coalfields of West Virginia’s Kanawha and New River region, Davis resettled in the interracial village of Rendville, Ohio, in 1882. Four years later, at the age of twenty-three, he expressed his commitment to worker’s rights when he forwarded his first letter to the National Labor Tribune.
Ohio University professor Frans H. Doppen situates his study in the broader context of the trade labor movement, interracial unionism, economic upheaval, and hardening race relations. Through the strategic use of some of the extant 173 letters that Richard L. Davis wrote, Doppen effectively examines the complex and nuanced challenges that Davis faced. Convincing black and white miners to join the union was challenging enough, but navigating inter- and intraracial animus and mistrust to unite workers against the evils of wage slavery and the increasingly racialized politics of the UMW’s white national leadership was quite another matter.
That Davis was twice elected to the UMW’s national executive board, on which heserved from 1886 to 1897, demonstrates his aptitude for successfully negotiating the shifting, overlapping, and interrelated fault lines of race, class, region, and labororganization associated with industrial America during the Jim Crow era. Yet Davis’s failure to win reelection to the board in 1898—the board included only white members for the next seventy-six years—illustrates how color and not ability increasingly determined one’s status within its leadership. Davis died at the age of thirty-five, impoverished and blacklisted from the very local he helped found.
Doppen’s compelling biography helps elevate a largely forgotten hero of the labor movement. Like the qualities that benefited labor organizers Mary Harris “Mother” Jones and John L. Lewis, Richard L. Davis’s strength and resilience were critical to the rise of the UMW as America’s foremost labor union. There is much to praise in Doppen’s study of this remarkable man, and it deserves to be widely read.
Cicero M. Fain III
College of Southern Maryland
Book is available on Amazon and at the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Office and the Winding Road Marketplace both in Shawnee; and the Little Professor Book Store in Athens.
2017 Rendville Historic Preservation Society Membership Drive Underway!
Thinking about becoming a member, or already a member? Our 2017 Membership Drive is now underway. Individual/Household Memberships are $20, Business/Organizational Memberships are $35, and Student Memberships are $10. Membership checks fmay be sent to our treasurer: Frans Doppen, 59 Elmwood Place, Athens, Ohio 45701. Make checks payable to the Rendville Historic Preservation Society. Please include your name, address, and e-mail with your check.
Little White House Restoration Continues
Supported by Community Foundation for Perry County
A $500 grant was recently awarded to the Rendville Historic Preservation Society from the Perry County Foundation for use in restoring the porch on the Little White House. The Little White House sits on the Main Street of Rendville, Ohio. It’s location next to the village’s Town Hall makes it an ideal place to house information about the history and people of Rendville. A small dwelling, it is most remembered as the home of Mrs. Alice White. Miss Alice, as she was affectionately known, was the matriarch of descendants spanning several resident families. The Little White House is one of the few remaining dwellings that attest to the history of Rendville. Restoration will be accomplished through volunteer and monetary donations. The house itself and its yard, will be donated to the Rendville Historic Preservation Society by Mr. Rob Ogden, a New Lexington realtor and fan of history.
Our first step is underway, as we restore the front porch and return its to its original design. Americorps member Jeff Wunderly of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council is leading the effort. At the March 23, 2016 meeting of our board, it was agreed to designate $500 toward this project. These funds came from memberships and contributions during our first year as an organization.
Contribution checks for the White House Restoration project may be sent to our treasurer: Frans Doppen, 59 Elmwood Place, Athens, Ohio 45701 or make your White House Contribution on-line by clicking here. Make checks payable to the Rendville Historic Preservation Society with a notation for “The Little White House”.
Rendville Village Fund Raffle-$250 Visa Card
Ohio’s smallest incorporated village is Rendville. Keeping village operations (street lights, grass mowing, town hall utilities, etc.) is very difficult give our tax base is so low. To defray expanses Mayor Bryan Bailey has organized a raffle for a pre-paid Visa Card in the amount of $250. Raffle drawing will take place during Emancipation Day on Saturday, September 24th. You do not need to be present to win. We have a special on-line ticket sale for our out of town friends of 3 tickets for $10 (minimum). The name, address and telephone required on your credit card purchase will be entered into the drawing. Click here to purchase your raffle tickets. All proceeds go to support the Village of Rendville.
EMANCIPATION DAY 2016
This year’s Emancipation Day should provide great opportunity for learning about the history of Rendville while enjoying family and friends, and making new relationships with the growing community of people who are dedicated to keeping our story alive!
The schedule of activities for this year’s event follows:
12:00 Set up and social time
12:30 Bell – Black National Anthem Sharell Arrocho
– Welcome Chairperson Jerry D. Jackson
– Presentation of Board of Directors
– Invocation Rev. Seward/Jean Harris
– Music while eating Wayne Reed & Friends
– Sylvester Hall
1:30 Introduction of Mr. Rob Ogden &
– Commissioner Jim O’Brien Jerry D. Jackson
1:40 Purpose – Renovation, Restoration Harry Ivory
– & Membership Jerry Jackson
2:00 History of Rendville John Winnenberg
– Frans Doppen
– Janis Ivory
EMANCIPATION DAY 2015
Schedule of Events
Rendville Emancipation Day
Saturday, September 26, 2015
12:00 Set up and social time
12:30 Welcome MC & Chairperson Jerry D. Jackson
Presentation of Board of Director
Introduction of Dignitaries
Invocation- Rev. Seward
Music while eating – Wayne Reed & Friends
1:25 Song-Micah Frank
1:30 Remarks: History, Announcement about House -John Winneberg
Purpose, Wish List-Denny Norman
1:50 Musical Instrument-Sylvester Hall
2:00 Down Memory Lane (Take You Back in Time) Panel of Elders
2:40 Introduction of Speaker by Harry Ivory
2:45 Speaker – Linda Hinton, V. Pres,
Communications Workers of America, District 4
3:15 Song-Micah Franks-Victor Franks
3:20 Union Leader Richard L. Davis-Portrayed by Matt Johnson
4:00 Music-Wayne Reed & Friends
Panel of Elders @ Rendville Art Works • Video of Rendville @ Town Hall • Pop Stand Donation Box • Vendors • Rendville Games for Kids
INTRODUCTION TO THE RHPS
The newly formed Rendville Historic Preservation Society (RHPS) is planning the return of Rendville Emancipation Day on September 26, 2015 from noon until 5:00 p.m. on the Main Street in Rendville. Rendville is the smallest incorporated town in Ohio, and is home to significant African American history and a compelling story of ethnic diversity. Emancipation Day celebrations were held in the village from the town’s founding in the 1880’s until the 1960’s.
The celebration will include live music, living history, speakers, a video of Rendville, activities for children, a panel discussion featuring elders, dance and song entertainment, and a walking tour of memorable buildings and sites of Rendville. Linda Hinton of Columbus, a relative of Richard L. Davis who broke the color barrier, by helping to integrate the early United Mine Workers Union in the late 1800’s, will be the featured speaker. Living History character Matt Johnson will portray the life of Davis through a speech that contains his words from dozens of letters who wrote to the National Labor Journal and the United Mine Workers Journal.
“Rendville has been known for its ethnic diversity where the people lived, worked, relaxed together and got along with one another,” said RHPS member Anita Jackson, a retired professor at Kent State University. Jackson’s husband, Jerry Jackson brought fame to the village in the 1960’s as an All-American basketball player at Ohio University leading the Bobcats to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. “Rendville has a rich history and traditions that are important to preserve,” she added.
The group’s leadership also includes representation from Ohio University faculty, the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council, the Rendville Art Works which located in the former Baptist Church in the village, Rendville mayor Byran Bailey and many former residents of the town whose population stood at 34 in the 2010 census.
One of the purposes of the Rendville Historic Preservation Society is to establish one of the older existing homes into a museum. The home is being donated to the group by New Lexingtion businessman Rob Ogden. Progress is underway and donations will be accepted at this event for this project. Persons wishing to support this effort or help with expenses for the Emancipation Day event should contact group treasurer Dr. Frans Doppen via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rendville is located in the Wayne National Forest, on State Route 13 in southern Perry County (25 miles north of Athens, 25 miles south of Zanesville, and 65 miles southeast of Columbus). Attendees are asked to bring a dish to share during the event. A picnic lunch will begin at 12:30pm. Descendants or friends of Rendville are asked to bring a historic picture to have scanned for the purpose of media to be developed and shared by the RHPS. For more information contact the group’s president Jerry Jackson via e-mail at email@example.com.