Papers of African American Educator and Legislator, Harriet “Liz” Byrd at AHC

The American Heritage Center has recently updated the finding aid for the Harriett Elizabeth Byrd family papers to include Ms. Byrd’s most recent donation to the Center.  In 1980, after teaching elementary school for nearly thirty years, “Liz” Byrd was elected to the Wyoming State House of Representatives and became the first African American legislator in Wyoming since statehood, as well as the first African American woman to serve in the Wyoming State Legislature.

In addition to documenting Byrd’s remarkable life, the collection also contains a significant amount of materials relating to her family’s history in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain region, which began when her grandfather, Charles J. Rhone, arrived in Wyoming in 1876.  New materials in the collection include: additional Rhone/Byrd family records, family photographs, legislative files, newspaper and magazine clippings, and memorabilia; as well as copy of a documentary featuring Byrd, Don’t Fence Me In: Celebrating Women and Girls of Wyoming.

Recently, materials from the Byrd family papers were featured as a part of the AHC traveling exhibit In Pursuit of Equality.  The exhibit is on view at the LCCC Ludden Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming through the end of October, and an online version of the exhibit can be found at the AHC website.

–Matt Francis, Processing Archivist, AHC

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