Honoring Hawthorne

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We think the idea — one proposed to state officials by the Voter Registration March Re-Enactment Committee — to honor and commemorate late civil rights leader Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne with a highway marker is a great idea.

The marker’s proposed location is at 701 Mecklenburg Ave. in Victoria, according to a press release from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR).

This permanent sign will remind generations of Lunenburg residents, along with those who travel through our community and visit, the impact one person can have on history.

Hawthorne played a critical role in his efforts as a civil rights activist, according to the DHR press release. Hawthorne is well-known for his efforts to desegregate schools, gaining equal access to restaurants and stores and securing African-American representation in government.

A World War II veteran, Hawthorne was the owner of a radio and television repair shop in Kenbridge, according to the release. In 1965, he closed his shop to dedicate his time and efforts to the civil rights movement.

As chair of the Lunenburg County NAACP from 1965-1974, Hawthorne was instrumental in desegregation of county schools by encouraging blacks to enroll their children in previously all-white schools.

While we undoubtedly think Hawthorne is deserving of this honor, it’s our hope this marker will inspire people — both young and old — to be the change they wish to see in the their communities, whether it’s Victoria, Kenbridge or elsewhere across the state, nation or world.

Looking to Hawthorne’s actions and good work is a most appropriate starting place for such efforts.