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Illustrating Utah History: The Fort Duchesne Buffalo Soldiers

June 17, 2021 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

Brigham City Museum to Host Panel on Fort Duchesne Buffalo Soldiers Graphic Novel

Update: The panel discussion recording is now available! 

The Brigham City Museum of Art & History, in partnership with Sema Hadithi African American Heritage and Culture Foundation and the Buffalo Soldier Research Group, presents an evening with Reilly Jensen, Fiona Robinson, and Dwayne Madry Thursday, June 17 at 6:00 PM via Facebook Live. The panel will focus on the legacies of Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Duchesne and their depiction in an upcoming graphic novel. 

After a recent viewing of storyboards from the graphic novel, Brigham City Museum Director and Sema Hadithi Foundation Board Member Alana Blumenthal invited the project’s artists and researchers to participate in a discussion about how the artistic process and historical research come together to tell the stories of Utah’s Buffalo Soldiers. The Museum’s current exhibition is a focus on illustration, a conducive setting for this discussion. “As an art and history museum, we have a strong interest from our audience in both the research that led to this project, as well as the mechanics of how illustrations for a book like this come together,” said Blumenthal. “I think there is a broad appeal with different age groups as this is one of our more popular exhibits with younger audiences.”

Reilly Jensen is an archaeologist and illustrator, currently pursuing an MFA in Community-Based Arts Education at the University of Utah. She focuses on material culture, object-oriented ontology, and storytelling to question how we understand the past and how to create new opportunities to reconnect with it. She was on a survey of Nine Mile Canyon when she became aware of the legacies of buffalo Soldiers in Utah. She worked with a group of researchers at Sema Hadithi to make this history more accessible through visual storytelling. 

Fiona Robinson focused her research on the Buffalo Soldiers in Utah after studying the Fort Douglas cemetery for Grimm Ghost Tours. Roadblock after roadblock required her to get creative with her research tools in order to document the Buffalo Soldiers within the context of Fort Duchesne’s history. She grew up in Salt Lake City, UT, traveling back and forth to the United Kingdom throughout her life and is currently working towards her degree in History at the University of Utah. Robinson is married with two children and loves to travel and learn the history of different places. 

Dwayne Madry is the author and creator of The Bloodlines of Sahael, a 15-book black fantasy series. The story centers on four black girls who defy the odds of saving their people and Aarde in ways never imagined. Madry created this fantasy world to have people let their guard down and let the true stories of the global slave trade unfold in a way they can see it and experience it. He lives in Salt Lake City. 

This event leads into Juneteenth celebrations and commemorations, including the launch of the first round of research projects on the Sema Hadithi website, SemaHadithi.org, on June 18th.

COVID-19 Protocols:
Museum staff take the health and well being of their visitors seriously. We encourage visitors who are not vaccinated to wear masks.  Hand sanitizer and soap are accessible in the gallery and restrooms.  

About the Brigham City Museum of Art & History
The museum is located at 24 North 300 West. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Guided tours are available by appointment.  Admission is free.

The Brigham City Museum of Art & History is northern Utah’s cultural hub, offering temporary exhibitions on art (contemporary and historical) and history. The museum is a department of Brigham City Corporation and receives added support from the Box Elder Museum Foundation.

About Sema Hadithi African American Heritage and Culture Foundation
Sema Hadithi Foundation strives to “tell the story” of African-ancestored history, heritage, and culture in Utah by researching, preserving, and disseminating information throughout the community.