In the Steps of Black History, and “Voices of the Movement”:
RHS and First Baptist Church partner for Black History Month
Sat. Feb. 18: 4 PM Tour, 5 PM Program
As part of Black History Month, the Rockbridge Historical Society presents a free, narrated walking tour on Sat. Feb.18, honoring a range of African-American residents who left their mark on local history over the course of the 18th-20th centuries.
Led by RHS Executive Director Eric Wilson, the hour’s tour welcomes all ages, including schoolchildren. Departing the public library at 4PM, the tour makes stops along the Main St. trail of historic street pavers to highlight some of the black lives that mattered to their contemporaries, and whose stories still resonate with the community today. Bring smartphones to further enjoy the digital resources at rrRockbridge.org.
Local African-Americans featured include: educational/religious leaders, Revs. Lylburn Downing & John Chavis; 18thc. free black settlers Edward Tarr & Patrick Henry; armless athlete/musician Lewis Watts; business/civic leaders Harry Lee & Eliza Walker. The “colored Sunday School” taught by Prof. T.J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and the fatal sacrifice by VMI valedictorian Jonathan Daniels, shed additional light on some of the historical footsteps through which Rockbridge residents both marked and crossed the color lines, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights era.
The walking tour ends at First Baptist Church for its 5PM program, “Voices of the Movement.” The event couples music from area choirs with excerpts from speeches by prominent Civil Rights leaders.
Local community leaders, pastors, students from WLU, SVU & DSLCC will read from the inspirational words of Dr. Martin Luther King & Coretta Scott King; Frederick Douglass & Rosa Parks; Fannie Lou Hamer & US Rep. Shirley Chisholm; late local pioneers such as Jonathan Daniels, Clifton Forge Mayor George Goode, and First Baptist’s own, Rev. LaVert Taylor.
The program will close with personal recollections of the groundbreaking female engineers and mathematicians recently brought to screen in ‘Hidden Figures.’