Celebrating Black History Month

Published 3:34 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

To begin Black History Month this year, Google Doodle, which is artwork displayed on the online search engine, Google, featured Carter G. Woodson, who was born in the Heart of Virginia and was considered the father of black history.

As the halfway point of the month approaches, I hope we can take the time to celebrate African-American men and women who are not only nationally recognized but who have made significant differences and have overcome enormous odds in our own community.

Nathaniel Hawthorne and his leadership in civil rights were honored through a state historical marker on Mecklenburg Avenue in Victoria on Aug. 12, 2017.

Hawthorne, a Lunenburg County native, worked to achieve equality in education and voting rights through his work in the Lunenburg NAACP, operating the “Freedom House” in Victoria and leading a march through the county, while facing death threats and intimidation.

Shirley Robertson Lee, of Lunenburg, in addition to being a longtime educator in the area, also published “Trails and Trailblazers: Public Education and School Desegregation in Lunenburg County.” The book is the only comprehensive historical account of education in Lunenburg County that contains history across a 100-year period, from 1870 to 1970.

An event that will showcase the book and the extensive historical collection Lee has gathered, which has been donated to the Lunenburg County Historical Society, will take place at Central High School on April 22.

The impact of African-American leaders can be felt going back centuries. One such person was Alfred L. Cralle, born in 1866 in the Town of Kenbridge, was an inventor who, through his ingenuity, went on to develop what is now the ice cream scoop.

These area leaders and many others who often do not receive needed recognition can remind us, as a community, how much they have had to go through to overcome racism in our society. It can serve as a reminder how much we need to do, today, to achieve equality and dismantle racial barriers.

One way we, as a community, can celebrate Black History Month is by honoring our friends, family members, community leaders and others who have made and continue to make an impact in Lunenburg County.

Emily Hollingsworth is a staff reporter for The K-V Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@ KVDispatch.com.