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(AP) — Mississippi-born Frances Jones-Sneed moved to western Massachusetts feeling like a foreigner in the snowy hamlets of the Berkshire Mountains. She and her husband, who had taken a teaching job there, were one of the area’s few black families. Then Jones-Sneed was hired as a history professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. There, she stumbled upon lost figures of the area’s rich black history. With the help of students, she found a slave who sued for freedom, a late 19th-century baseball player who later ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and a Civil War chaplain who challenged Lincoln over discrimination against black soldiers. Now her work has gained national attention, and she has won a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bring 25 scholars from around the country for training on how to find black figures in rural areas.

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