Artifact found at the Parker Academy dig site. (Eric L.)
Artifact found at the Parker Academy dig site.

Eric L.

NKU professors dig up a history of cultural acceptance

July 13, 2018

Dr. Brian Hackett, associate professor of public history professor at Northern Kentucky University, has been one of three leaders of an archaeology project to dig up artifacts in the grounds of the old Parker Academy.

“I should make it clear that I am not an archaeologist, but more a public historian,” Hackett said. “Public history is the way that people get their history, so in a sense we are essentially the UPS delivery men of history.”

Hackett explained in an interview with student journalists the purpose and importance of the Parker Academy when it existed. The academy was ahead of its time in the 1830’s when it was built and opened.

It was accepting to teach anyone regardless of their race, religion or gender. At the time, this was vastly unheard of due to the period unfortunately being the acme of racism and slavery in the southern states.

During the dig, Hackett claimed to find bullets and musket balls on the grounds, with the assumption being that locals who scorned the academy for teaching African Americans had taken shots at the school at some points.

At the time, the academy influenced cultural acceptance in schools during the decades, until racism and sexism were nearly non-existent.

Plates, ceramics and utensils that were uncovered in the dig revealed what life was like in the Parker Academy during the early 1800’s.

Hackett said they plan to release the artifacts and documents to the public in 2020, after they have finished digging up all of the pieces and articles that they want to present.

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