VDOT permit to be presented for Reenactment March

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Organizers will be presented the Virginia Department of Transportation permit allowing their civil rights reenactment march at the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors’ Thursday meeting.

The Saturday, Aug. 13, reenactment march is to commemorate the historic Voting Rights March of 1965 to the Lunenburg Courthouse that occurred over 50 years ago.

Various people, organizations and agencies — including VDOT, the organizing committee, the sheriff’s office, and state police — are collaborating on the event, which will also include the presentation of a resolution honoring Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne Sr., one of the county’s civil rights activists.

“This is a positive community event that warrants coverage by local news,” County Administrator Tracy M. Gee said in an email about the presentation at Thursday’s meeting. Gee recently completed the VDOT permit application on behalf of the committee. Supervisor Edward Pennington is a key supporter of the march, and was a participant in the original protest as a youth.

On Aug. 3, 1965, about 300 demonstrators — many children — marched to the Lunenburg County Courthouse. The march was in support of the impending passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act — which was signed into law on Aug. 6 — and to protest the existence of the poll tax, stated the county’s website. The march was also intended to protest inadequate voter registration hours, but on July 31, just days earlier, the county’s electoral board decided to grant adequate hours for voter registration.

In turn, grateful demonstrators used the march to express appreciation to the board for its decision. That march began at First Baptist Church on Lunenburg Avenue in Victoria, and continued to the courthouse where the marchers lined the streets for a short time before continuing to nearby Tussekiah Baptist Church to end the demonstration with song and prayer.

The event schedule, as outlined on the county’s website, is:

•8–9 a.m.: Parking at Central High School, 131 K-V Road, Victoria. Transportation for participants will be provided to First Baptist Church, 821 Lunenburg Ave., Victoria;

•9:45 a.m.: Registration/Instructions;

•10 a.m.-12 p.m.: March and arrival at the courthouse;

•12-12:30 p.m.: Presentation of the Nathaniel L. Hawthorne, Sr. Memorial Resolution;

•12:30-1:30 p.m.: Gathering at the Tussekiah Baptist Church, 116 Lunenburg County Road, Keysville;

•1:30-2 p.m.: Transport back to Central High School;

•2-3 p.m.: Fellowship in Central High School cafeteria.

Pre-registration is available on-line at votenow1966@gmail.com. Donations by check or money order can be mailed to VRRC, P.O. Box 1141, Victoria. For more information, contact Edward Pennington at (434) 696-2285 or Wanda Rich-Morrison at (434) 676-3400.