Black History Makers: Wathetta Buford

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 9:06 AM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Wathetta Buford is the project manager for the African American Museum Bowling Green Area and works to preserve history and culture. In our Black History Makers series, she discusses current events and the work that’s being done to recover, document and preserve history.

The United States of America saw history with the election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Vice President Harris is the first Black American and the first female vice president in our nation’s history; Wathetta discusses what that means for young girls across our nation.

“It means a lot. It’s an awesome thing. For me, personally, for my two younger granddaughters that are nine and seven, it lets us show them what can be done and what they can hope for, so it’s just really exciting. First, that she’s female and then that she’s Black, so it’s very exciting.”

Wathetta says that her older granddaughter was especially excited about the election of Vice President Harris.

“The older one was able to talk about it because they had talked about it in her class. In her virtual class, they had talked about the election and everything, so she was really rooting for Kamala Harris. She was quite thrilled.”

We also discussed what this means for people who may feel underrepresented in our society.

“It means a lot. People that are underrepresented, they feel like they are left out of a lot of things, whether it be work, whether it be anything, they just feel left out, so it means a lot to see that a woman, a Black can achieve what Kamala Harris did, so it means a lot.”

Wathetta is the project manager for the African American Museum Bowling Green Area. Her mission is to make sure that history is never forgotten:

“It’s very important for little children, important for everybody and we try to preserve history. We’re still collecting newspaper articles on current events. I’ve worked with a class from Western and because they weren’t able to come to the museum. It’s a master class in folk history, I believe. And because they weren’t able to come to the museum, they were doing all interviews for the museum, so it means a whole lot.”

History was made in Bowling Green in 2020 when Michael Delaney was sworn in as the chief of the Bowling Green Police Department, becoming the first Black police chief for Bowling Green.

“It was exciting. It was awesome, personally, because I know him and have known him forever and ever and to see him achieve that. He strived and worked very hard to achieve that. We are trying to get all the articles that we can on him becoming police chief and we’ll have something at the museum so the children will be able to see and learn about Mike and I’m sure we’ll do some interviews with Mike and things like that, so it’s awesome for him to become the first and it’s it says something for Bowling Green.”

We just celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day Wathetta reflects on how the Bowling Green community is working to keep his voice and his legacy alive.

“We are working on the non-violent protests. We don’t believe in violence, but you can protest for something in a non-violent way and also that people can have equal rights. Everybody, no matter what color, no matter who you are, should be treated the same, fairly.”

“Just trying to make sure that they’re protesting in the right way, in the non-violent way of protesting for the right thing and it’s fair treatment for all equal rights.”

Wathetta also works with the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission. The goal is to eliminate discrimination. We asked her how she felt our community and our country is doing to eliminate discrimination.

“Bowling Green as a whole is trying to do better, but we still have quite a ways to go. There are places where I would guess offices or employment is the big thing. There are places where everybody’s not treated equally. Way back years ago, and this wasn’t in Bowling Green, when I lived in Louisville, I was in a position and a gentleman was in a position and we were both Black, but because he was male, he got paid more than I did and they kind of changed the title a little bit, but we got paid the same, so we try to work to prevent that. We try to work to make sure that everybody’s on an equal basis, no matter who you are.”

For more information about the African American Museum Bowling Green Area click here.

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