‘African Americans in Piqua’ program at Edison

PIQUA — Piqua author and historian Larry Hamilton and Piqua City Commissioner Kris Lee will be at Edison State Community College, Wednesday, June 27, at 1 p.m., to discuss “African Americans in Piqua, Then and Now.”

Hamilton will recount the pre-Civil War story of John Randolph. Randolph, a slave owner, directed in his will that upon his death, his 300 slaves would be freed and provided with 2,000 acres of rich farmland in Mercer County. These former slaves, or freedmen, traveled across Virginia, down the Ohio River and up the canal by boat to the land that had been given to them.

In Mercer County, they were met by hostile farmers and driven back into their boat. Some settled outside of Piqua in Rossville. These freedmen became educated and skilled in various occupations. They prospered, and many left the Piqua area to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Kris Lee is a descendent of one of these freedmen. Lee was recently elected a Piqua City commissioner, the second African American to hold this position.

Lee has a long list of academic achievements, including two associate degrees: one from Edison State in paralegal studies and one from Wright State in communication, an Master of Business Administration from Bluffton University, and an Master of Arts in organizational management from Bluffton. He has served 27 years in the Piqua Police Department; 14 years teaching at Edison State with nine years in the Edison State Law Enforcement Academy.

Lee and his wife are raising five children plus a niece and a nephew. He has spent years coaching area teams in basketball, tennis and soccer and has served on the parish council at St. Marys.

The public is welcome to attend this event. Free parking is available at the East Hall lot at Edison State Community College. The seminar will be held in East Hall Room 458.

For information, call 937-778-3815.