Anniversary march meetings open to the public

Published 9:04 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

A member of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors wants the entire community involved in planning the August anniversary civil rights march.

Calling it a historical event, Edward Pennington is encouraging locals to participate in the march’s planning and begin attending the meetings held every fourth Friday.

The next meeting will be on Friday at 6 p.m. at Starlight Baptist Church.

“This is open to everybody in the county,” Pennington announced during the Feb. 11, board of supervisors meeting. “This is our history first of all.”

The Aug. 13, march will be the 50th anniversary re-creation of a 1966 protest. In the original march, the nearly 300 participants were going to demonstrate for longer hours at the voter registration office, but the request was complied with before the protest, so it turned into a march of appreciation.

Pennington said organizers hope to attract 1,000 participants to the re-creation with coverage by radio, and Richmond television stations.

A resolution honoring Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne for his work as a civil rights leader in Lunenburg County has been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly, and supporters hope it can be read as part of the march.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful thing,” Pennington said. “Everything is falling in place.”

The anniversary march will follow the same four-mile trek as the original — from Victoria’s First Baptist Church to the courthouse, concluding at nearby Tussekiah Baptist Church.

Organizers have garnered support from various agencies — including law enforcement and rescue squad, the county’s supervisors and the town councils in Kenbridge and Victoria. They also hope to get support of the school systems and participation of some of its students.

Seeking to further promote the march and spread the word about it, Pennington is also asking that the county and school system advertise the march on their websites.

Organizers are asking participants to be at First Baptist Church before 10 a.m., with registration lasting until noon. Transportation for those needing will be provided, and transportation back to the church will be provided.

The event will be handicap accessible.

“This is a part of history,” Pennington said. “You should be a part of this great celebration.”

Jamie Ruff is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch. His email is