“Spreading the word” can be a challenging activity. We think we do a pretty good job using The Ripley Bee and social media, and flyers in the library and around town, yet we still miss people, the plight of any organization or business trying to get the word out.
The grapevine is still a powerful message deliverer. We didn’t have to spread the word about doing snowmen for the Ripley library fence. Somehow the word got out and we had to go into production to make a second batch of blank snowmen. Trust me, cutting four foot snowmen out of thin plywood on a small craft scroll saw that I haven’t used for over 20 years isn’t pretty. Fortunately, the first set was done by my dad, John Gibson, and he has better tools and uses them all the time.
We primed them and drilled holes and they are ready to pick up if you’ve already picked one out. As I write this, there is one snowman left unspoken for, first come, first serve. I’m guessing the popularity of the scarecrows on the fence spurred on interest. We have lots of creative people in town and this is a fun outlet to show your stuff. We also are happy to help decorate the center of Ripley a little so we’ll be ready for River Village Christmas.
Last week we were visited by people that were interested in what we had both old and new on the area’s abolitionists. Our collection continues to grow, and it was hard to pick out the best sampling, but I think they liked what they saw. When I came to Ripley decades ago, the Underground Railroad interest was present, but Ohio’s participation was not well represented in books or articles. Twenty plus years later, we are now regularly included in overall books about the UGRR as well as having books written just on our area.
Our heroes are showing up in an increasingly wider array of books, Ripley’s John Rankin is one of only seventeen profiles in a new book titled “White Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice” by Drick Boyd. We should be proud of the heritage around here, and hopefully do good work that will someday be our positive legacy.