African Americans were essential to the construction of the Secret City, although they were faced with the harsh realities of segregation. “Secret Growth” reveals some of the harsh conditions endured by African-Americans who contributed to the project.
OAK RIDGE, TN (March 2020) – The community encouraged to visit a special exhibit “Secret Growth” at the American Museum of Science and Energy. It tells the story of some of the contributions of African-Americans to the Oak Ridge Manhattan Project.
The Manhattan Project was plagued by segregationist practices. In time, Oak Ridge overcame those old ideas and became a place where people of all races and origins worked together, creating an innovative and dynamic culture that continues to produce gifted individuals in every walk of life.
The exhibit was a 10-month coordination of community members who researched the early year contributions as well as recent contributions of African Americans in the sciences, education, and social sectors of the Manhattan Project, according to Rose Weaver.
Weaver approached the museum during its changes a year ago to inquire of a more African American presence. She was invited to assist in this exhibit. “Much of the story has not been told of the paramount contributions made by African Americans who helped build the National Nuclear Safety Administration during WWII’s top-secret “Manhattan Project.” said Weaver. This exhibit serves as an educational impetus to inform the community, said Weaver. It is her hope that the educational community will use this exhibit as an opportunity for students to learn more about the diverse history of Oak Ridge.
The exhibit showcases artifacts, clothing, pictures, and music of the period. Profiles of African-Americans include Atomic Energy Commission Physicist Lila Smith; former researcher at ORTEC and Oak Ridge Research Institute Archie Lee; Eugene Williams one of the 85 students who desegregated the Oak Ridge Schools in 1955 then a member of the Negro Baseball League; and local artist William Capshaw.
The exhibit also honors the 85 courageous students that desegregated Oak Ridge Schools in 1955.
Secret Growth” runs from March 13 through May 25, 2020. The AMSE is located at 115 E. Main Street, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. It is open seven days a week; 1-5 pm, Sunday and Monday; 9 am to 5 pm, Tuesday – Saturday. Admission is $8 ($5 for children and senior citizens).
Presented by the American Museum of Science and Energy with contributions from Rose Weaver, and citizens of Oak Ridge, TN. Additional support provided by the National Park Service, and The Department of Energy.
The American Museum of Science and Energy is a science museum in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, designed to teach children and adults about energy, especially nuclear power, and to document the role Oak Ridge played in the Manhattan Project. Additional displays include interactive displays, the Big Science area, a walk-through shower, Energy Leadership area, Explorer area, lab classrooms, and of course the plasma globe that stands your hair on end when touched and much more.
For more information on African-American scientist who contributed to the Manhattan Project; visit African-American scientists-during-the-manhattan-project
Spread the love