Making Invisible History Visible is an Omaha Public Schools project that focuses on studying minority history and the contributions minorities have made both to the city of Omaha and the state of Nebraska.
Barry Thomas, Supervisor of Social Studies for OPS, says the summer time project has been going on for seven years.
For the first three, the focus was on African American individuals’ contributions, specifically looking at North Omaha. The next year centered on Latinos and South Omaha while the 5th year was focused on Native Americans.
Thomas says since then, the project has included all racial and ethnic groups that are currently underrepresented in the school curriculum.
Thomas explains all projects are done by 8th graders in groups of three. Students work with an OPS teacher and a university student and are given guidance by community experts and university professors.
"They spend a week and a half doing extensive research on their topics, visiting different locations of historical significance, getting their hands into primary documents by working with the Douglas County Archives and the Nebraska State Archives. Then they take all those documents and all those interviews that they have with people that are descendants of, or worthy individuals that were connected to the topics they are researching, and they compile all that data and process it into a website.”
Thomas says the projects are hosted on a website and are easy to access. He says the specific goal of posting them online is for teachers to be able to utilize the information from the research projects in OPS’ social studies content for grades K-12.
This summer, Making Invisible History Visible focused on the musical heritage of African Americans as it relates to gospel, jazz, hip hop and drill teams.
For more information, the website is invisiblehistory.ops.org.