Gina Ruffin Moore
Author of Cincinnati for Arcadia Publishing’s Black America Series
Cincinnati is a northern city with a southern exposure. We’re right here on [the Ohio River, an extension of the] Mason-Dixon line, and the variety of diverse points of view is just amazing to me. I have a passion for history and I saw [writing this book] as a wonderful opportunity, but it became massive for me: How do you capture the history of a group of people in 124 pages? So I broke it down by chapters, like education, businesses, religious community, etc. That way I was able to capture something from a lot of different generations.
I started with the archives and rare books library, where they had actual photos and documents that were of interest to me. A lot of people don’t know this, but the University of Cincinnati is a repository for wills written in Hamilton County after a certain year. I found the last will and testament of Levi Coffin, the father, or the conductor, of the Underground Railroad. Levi Coffin lived in Cincinnati before he moved to Indiana. I actually put my hands on a piece of paper he touched. It was overwhelming for me—I was holding something that was written I don’t know how many hundred years ago