The Diamonds of West Virginia Project originated from a request by Nikon Ambassador Matthew Jordan Smith, to embark on my own personal project. Combining my love for photography, interest in African-American history, and pride in my great state of West Virginia, I decided to pursue a project that focused on inspiring African-Americans who have roots in West Virginia. They represent the fields of entertainment, religion, academic, law, journalism, military, and athletics.
Documenting the portraits and stories of these amazing men and women has been nothing short of eye-opening. Along the way I have learned so much about West Virginia and West Virginians—especially African-Americans who have played a critical part in the history of the United States. Many have heard of Booker T. Washington and more recently Katherine Johnson, but few know of the Tuskegee Airmen and list of retired military generals who graced the hills of West Virginia.
-Renee L. Ferguson
Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.