Sharkey Heritage and Cultural Project

Sharkey Heritage and Cultural Project is an organization designed to record the oral, written, and photographic history of Sharkey County, as well as to preserve the heritage and culture of the area. Because of the close relationship between Sharkey and Issaquena Counties, often referred to as “The Twin Counties,” both counties will be included in this endeavor.

The Archives Department at Delta State University has agreed to support this project by archiving all materials and assisting in making those items available to researchers and the public.

The major emphasis of work at this time is on the collection of oral histories from people who have lived in the community. Of utmost importance and priority are those individuals in their eighties and nineties who live in or have lived in the community for a significant period of time. These histories will be audio recordings with still photographs of the subject. As these histories are recorded, they will be transcribed and published.

Additional projects that will be worked on simultaneously are:

  • Gather information from cemeteries located in the two-county area in one repository. This mission will include creating a database and performing grave rubbings of existing headstones, when needed.
  • Collect and digitize all school newspapers such as Cary Chatter, The Octopus and similar publications from the area.
  • Gather information on the influence of the African Americans, Chinese, Jews, Lebanese, Italians, Mexicans, and other ethnic groups to the history of the community. A closer look will be on the implications from “The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882,” as it impacted education of the Chinese and from the Rosenwald Schools, as they impacted education of the blacks. Research will be conducted to see how the education of Mexican immigrants was handled in the community, as well.
  • Collect and archive photographic, oral and written histories of the 1927 flood, Belgrade Lumber Company, the 1971 tornado, the Illinois Central Railroad, the Cary fire, and the farming industry as they reflect the changing landscape of the current community.
  • Identify the succession of owners and history of homes, buildings, churches, etc. throughout the two-county area.
  • Work to preserve Goodman Memorial Methodist Church, a church that is one of the few existing buildings in the town of Cary built before 1930.