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African-American History Month Event Focuses on Cursive Writing

Jan. 28, 2016 — As fewer and fewer schools teach cursive handwriting, society is losing more than the ability to understand the swooping script of signatures. It is losing a primary link to history that was often written by hand, including correspondence and legal documents important to understanding the African-American experience.

“The [Mystery] Case for Cursive: Uncovering the Legacy of African-American Historical Documents” will explore the positive effects of cursive education in a two-part mystery lunch workshop, beginning at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 11 at Collin College’s Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center. Speakers for the event include representatives from CursiveLogic and the National Archives office in Fort Worth.

The event will kick off with a presentation exploring the struggle to preserve handwritten knowledge, the need for continued cursive education and the resources available to continue its teaching. “The Case for Cursive” will run from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

After a short intermission, the event will continue with a “Mystery History Workshop” from 1-2:15 p.m. The workshop will examine historical documents and investigate clues to our disappearing past. Participants can expect to uncover African-American contributions to United States history.

“We are going to be examining documents that were written in cursive, including a letter from a female slave who wrote a letter to the president of the United States,” Workshop Co-Organizer Pam Gaiter said.

The event is part of a larger group of events celebrating African-American History Month at Collin College, as well as a two-year project by Dr. Dallie Clark to showcase the art of the letter in the digital age, one aspect of which is penmanship.

“This is not just the loss of an artistic medium,” Dr. Clark said. “Since many letters written in cursive are keys to our past, students who are unable to read them will be hindered from doing primary research or even reading their own family histories.”

The Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center is located at 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. Space for this event is limited and anyone wishing to attend should RSVP to Dr. Dallie Clark at dclark@collin.edu by Feb. 4, 2016.  Please note that the event is geared primarily for college and senior high school students.

Collin College serves nearly 52,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates in a wide range of disciplines. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development. In addition, the college operates the Collin Higher Education Center, which serves 3,200 additional students each year in partnership with The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Woman’s University, Texas A&M Commerce, Texas Tech and the University of North Texas.

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