Deserving honors

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

It’s our hope the new historical marker on Mecklenburg Avenue honoring the late Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne should serve as a reminder to us all of the importance of equality among one another.

The new historical marker serves as a beacon of hope in a world filled with uncertainty amid the recent Charlottesville protests over ideals pertaining to the color of one’s skin.

Hawthorne, a Lunenburg County native, was born in 1923. He served in World War II and was inspired to establish rights for African Americans after experiencing barriers to registering to vote and school desegregation.

Regardless of our skin color, many across the nation face barriers, whether economic, civic or social. Hawthorne’s work proves that, at the end of the day, justice will prevail.

Hawthorne served as chairman of the Lunenburg Branch of the NAACP from 1965-74. He also served as a coordinator of the Virginia Students’ Civil Rights Committee and organized a voting rights march that passed through Mecklenburg Avenue, where the marker is erected.

Though he faced numerous death threats and means of intimidation, Hawthorne continued his mission, seeking to upend the status quo of racial superiority in the county.

Hawthorne fought for fairness, equality and respect among everyone who not only lived in Lunenburg County, but Virginia and the U.S.

We share the sentiment of William “Bill” Monnie, a friend of Hawthorne.

“This marker placed here today beside the route of his march from the past is symbolic of the march we all started together,” Monnie said.

“Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne is an inspiration to each of us as we march up that mountain in our journey to the promise land,” Monnie said. “Nathaniel, God took you from us too soon. Your sacrifice for us will never be forgotten.”

We challenge those who live in our community to keep Hawthorne’s spirit of equality and fairness alive in our daily interactions with each other.