Virginia represents the longest continuous experience of African American culture and life in the United States. In August of 1619, the first African slaves were brought to the shores of Jamestown—marking the start of centuries of unimaginable struggle and racism for African Americans in our country.
Throughout those years, countless brave African American men and women fought for equality, freedom, recognition and safety for themselves and future generations. During Black History Month, we set aside time to specifically honor and celebrate the history and contributions to our society made by African Americans. those who fought for African American rights.
This Black History Month, learn about the incredible men and women in the Lynchburg area who fought for freedom, equality and rights for African Americans.
Legacy Museum of African American History
The Legacy Museum of African American History is dedicated to collecting, preserving and storing historical artifacts, documents and memorabilia relating to the African American community in Lynchburg. The Legacy Museum typically has one main exhibit running at a time, with the current exhibit focusing on African American life during and after the Civil War. Past exhibits have included African American medicine, education and civic and social groups.
Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum
Anne Spencer was a poet, civil rights activist, teacher, librarian, wife, mother and gardener who lived in Lynchburg during the Harlem Renaissance cultural movement. As the first Virginian and first African American to have her poetry included in the highly influential the second poet to ever be included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry, Anne Spencer was known for her poems with heavy biblical and mythological themes. During her life in Lynchburg, her home played host to Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Booker T. Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to name just a few.
Black History Walking Tour at Old City Cemetery
Old City Cemetery is the oldest municipal cemetery still in use in Virginia today. With a sprawling 27-acres of gardens, history park and gravestones, Old City Cemetery is a must-visit for any history lover. The Old City Cemetery was the primary burial site for African Americans in Lynchburg from 1806 to 1865. In fact, over 75 percent of the men and women buried there were African American, and was, at that time, the only burial ground available to African Americans. There is no entrance fee to visit the cemetery, which is open year-round. Be sure to visit the outdoor exhibit chronicling an African American burial, which borrowed from African traditions.
Good Samaritans & Daughters of Samaria at the Museum
The Lynchburg Museum is also hosting a rare and unique collection in honor of Black History Month. The Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria was a predominantly African American fraternal order founded in 1847. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Lynchburg citizens were members and were actively participating in meetings, rituals and community leadership.
This exhibit will be on display from February 1 to February 7. The Museum is free and open to the public.