Darrell Smith serves as the vice president of the C.B. Nuckolls Community Center and Black History Museum.
“The pictures that you see laying out here are from Mr. Bill Blake – he passed away some years ago, but he went to the [Booker T. Washington School] himself and he played ball,” Smith said.”
Smith shuffled through the stacks of photos, newspaper clippings and letters, “These were all friends of his when they were going to school together,” he said. “There are photos of the pool as well.”
Smith said the pool was culturally significant and a staple of Ashland’s Black community.
“It sat right behind the school, which burned down, but the pool is still there,” Smith said. “It used to be a Black pool for years – throughout the 1980’s and the 90’s, then the city took it over and turned it into Ashland Pool instead of Dawson.”
Smith shared his vision for the museum to have 40 different exhibits able to show highlighting Ashland’s Black history.
“I’m trying to find every little thing I can: the social clubs, military, C.B. Nuckolls himself and the school itself which has intricate pieces to it as well as the marching band, sports and socializing,” Smith said.
He motioned his arms to an empty corner near long, floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Over in this corner, there will be three-foot by four-foot sections where every Black family in Ashland that I can think of and that we can find will find their album,” Smith said. “Anyone can come to look at it and they can put around 40 pictures on it. I am trying to personalize the museum to our community.”