Thursday, July 05, 2018

Retired Man Still Working on Documenting Forgotten History of African Americans
David Wallace has spent years researching names of thousands of black residents

By Jasmine Pelaez
Jul 05, 2018 07:03 PM EDT

FREDERICK, Md. - For the last three years, David Wallace has spent six days of the week here in the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library digging through dozens of reels of archived documents.

"I’m a ‘lister’ by nature. I love making lists about all kinds of things," said Wallace.

After reading a book on the subject of burial sites in Frederick, he noticed not a single mention of any black resident.

Wallace has now listed more than 5,000 names of black residents in Frederick with published death and burial notices from the 1800s to the 1950s.

"I know from my own experience how interesting it is to know more about my own ancestors...There's no difference between black and white in that respect," Wallace said.

His database was recently printed and bound and has been distributed to other libraries and organizations like African American Resources- Cultural and Heritage, or AARCH, in the hopes of becoming a stepping stone to further research.

"It’s just something to pass on to generations to come. This is one of those things that would have disappeared had he not done that," said AARCH president, David Key.

And now done with the database, Wallace has devoted time to creating more lists in the form of indexes for books within the Maryland Room's collection.

He has completed 225 book indexes.

"He’s like the energizer bunny of indexing. That's what we like to say in the Maryland Room," joked library associate for the Maryland Room, Carolyn Magura.

David Wallace has volunteered for the Maryland Room research center at the library for more than 10 years.

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