New state program funds historical markers for underserved groups

By: - October 20, 2022 7:11 pm
Historical marker

A new program launched by History Nebraska finances state historical markers for underserved groups and topics. Pictured is a marker erected in Lincoln before the new program began. (Paul Hammel/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — A dozen state historical markers are being erected as part of a new History Nebraska program to share the stories of underserved groups and historical events.

The state history organization on Thursday announced the first recipients of its Nebraska Historic Marker Equity Grant program, which finances the markers. They cost up to $6,000 each.

Among the markers to be erected is one in Whiteclay, which will tell the story of the “White Clay Extension,” a more than a century-old act of Congress that had created a buffer zone into Nebraska from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to prevent “whiskey ranches” from selling liquor to reservation residents.

Broc Anderson, a Sheridan County native who sought a grant for the historical marker, said the program will help under-recognized aspects of Nebraska history and, in Whiteclay, will better inform people about early relations between Native Americans and non-natives.

“The White Clay Extension from the Pine Ridge Reservation is part of Nebraska history that is so overlooked,” Anderson said in a press release.

State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha led the effort to obtain state funds for the historical marker program. Grants are awarded based on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion criteria, according to History Nebraska.

Besides the Whiteclay marker, others getting Historical Marker Equity Program grants are:

  • Great Plains Black History Museum, Omaha, for WWII hero Charles Jackson French.
  • Genoa Indian School Foundation, for the U.S. Indian Industrial School.
  • Legacy of the Plains Museum, Gering, for Japanese Hall.
  • LUX Center for the Arts, Lincoln, for artist and educator Gladys Lux.
  • Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk, for talk-show host Johnny Carson.
  • Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk, for the history of minor-league baseball in Norfolk.
  • Katherine Stoner, Red Cloud, for softball coach and girls’ sports pioneer Kay Cover.
  • Red Cloud Heritage Tourism Development, for the Pol-y-gron-da-ha Burial Site.
  • Omaha Star newspaper, Omaha, for the Omaha DePorres Club.
  • Peony Park Historical Marker Committee, for the Omaha’s former Peony Park amusement park.
  • Nebraska Public Historians, for League Park, also known as Western League Park, in Omaha.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.