March 29, 2018
18-75

John Stephen
Communications Specialist

VSU Journalism Students Discover Local History

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University recently partnered with the Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum to give journalism students the opportunity to discover the rich history of Valdosta and Lowndes County and bring that history to life through writing.

Students from Dr. Ted Geltner’s literary journalism class visited the Lowndes County Historical Museum, a multi-story building in downtown Valdosta that contains 10,000 square feet of historical displays, artifacts, memorabilia, and research representing centuries of local culture and events. Their task was to find a topic to use as the subject of a historical narrative, which is writing grounded in fact and rigorous reporting that employs the narrative techniques of fiction.

“There are so many topics in the museum from all the different eras of Valdosta history, so many great stories in boxes and glass cases waiting to be told,” said Geltner, associate professor of journalism. “All my students need is a spark to get them started.”

The spark for LaDaezjah Warrens came from a display for Louis E. Lomax (1922-1970), a journalist born and raised in Valdosta who became the first African-American to appear on television as a newsman.

“Knowing that he is from Valdosta is a big deal, and he’s the first of something, which makes him even more unique,” said Warrens, an English major from Sacramento, California, who expects to graduate in Spring 2020. “I think it breaks down barriers when you’re more informed about things. It stops you from repeating history. That’s important.”

Donald Davis, executive director of the Lowndes County Historical Museum, said knowing the past helps people to understand the present moment.

“The community has been tremendous over the last 50 years in turning in the wonderful and varied story of Valdosta and Lowndes County,” he said, referencing the founding of the Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum in 1967. “It is a very rich history through which many national and international events can be told from a local beginning.” 

The trip to the museum represents VSU’s commitment to engaging with the South Georgia community and providing students with unique experiential learning opportunities.

The Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum is located at 305 W. Central Ave. The museum is open to the public, and admission is free. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Visit http://valdostamuseum.com/ to learn more. 

On the Web:
https://www.valdosta.edu/programs/b-a-degree-with-a-major-in-english/
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