Paul Hammond and Michael Joseph Ajemian recently wrote about Libby Prison in the blog Michael James RVA. We asked Paul Hammond, co-writer of the history-inspired entries about their motivations in starting this project.
Since when and why are you doing this blog?
Michael and I met ten years ago in a taxi where we discussed music and history, then lost contact. A few months ago I started reading his Facebook posts and realized we knew each other. Michael is the historian with a focus on Richmond. He researches and tells the stories. I don’t have his eye for detail, but I do have 15 years experience blogging about Richmond, so we formed a partnership. He writes the stories, I edit and present them on the blog.
What particularly interested you about Church Hill?
What’s not to like about Church Hill? After Shockoe Bottom, it is Richmond’s oldest and most historic neighborhood. Having lived there briefly, I fell in love with it. I can’t what to see what Michael comes up with next, Chimborazo, St. John’s Church, the old Jewish cemeteries in the Bottom. Whatever it is, you can be sure Michael will pull many different threads together and tell a great story. Telling Richmond’s story is a group effort. We welcome suggestions, questions and contributions.
And what would you say to a young historian looking to get out there?
Keep your eyes and ears open. You live in a fascinating city and the best source you may find could be a neighbor or a stranger on the street. Richmond has many fines historians, Harry Kollatz for one. You can learn a lot from them. Mostly maintain a sense of curiosity. It’s a very addictive hobby.