Early White Guides at Mammoth Cave
The primary focus of the documentary I am producing is the black guides who worked at Mammoth Cave and their story. The reason for this is frankly because it is more dramatic. It involves slavery, manumission, prejudice, role of race in society, discrimination, segregation, and Jim Crow laws set atop the background of the role of guides and the exploration of the longest cave in the world. That being said I do not want to ignore the role that white guides played and their contributions to the history of the cave and the exploration of the cave. I want to include in the documentary segments on these men as told by their descendants and historians of the region.
I would like to include in the documentary an introduction by family members still residing in the region of their family’s role in the history of the cave. For example someone saying something to the effect: “My great-great grandfather John Smith worked as a guide in the cave from 1820-1840, he had three sons, two of them, Bill and Bob, also worked in the cave from xxxx until xxxx and from xxxx until xxxx. The third son, Fred, worked at the hotel as a manger from xxxx until xxxx. Bill was the guide to some famous person, and discovered this new section of the cave.”
I want to invite locals who had ancestors who worked as cave guides or at the cave property to contact me. We can discuss what information should be included in these segments of family history. We can make arrangements to videotape these short interview pieces on my next visit to the cave. Yes, the segments will be short, but they would create a fuller appreciation about the bond between the people and families who lived and worked in the region and the cave. I know there are descendants of Archibald Miller, the Lees, the Hunts, and the Nelsons among others who could contribute immensely to the project. Les Carney has already contributed photos of his grandfather Lester Carney with tour groups he led into the cave. So please contact me and see what we can work out. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lester Carney and cave group