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Digging up the past in Boise's River Street neighborhood

The 2015 dig covered a block of River Street in downtown Boise.
Dr. William White
The 2015 dig covered a block of River Street in downtown Boise.

This episode of Idaho Matters originally aired on October 4, 2022.

Have you ever lost something in your backyard? A coffee cup? A child’s toy?

Decades later, the things left behind in a backyard can tell archeologists a lot about who lived there and the image they wanted to project to the world.

That’s what Dr. William White found when he started digging up backyards in 2015 in Boise’s River Street neighborhood, an area where African Americans and immigrants were forced to live more than 100 years ago.

Dr. White is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of the forthcoming book, “Segregation Made Them Neighbors: An Archaeology of Racialization in Boise, Idaho.”

He’ll be talking about his research at Boise’s Fettuccine Forum on Oct. 6.

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As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.