Danville Public Library will host the “Strong Men and Women in Virginia History” traveling exhibit until Saturday, Aug. 22. The exhibit honors eight African Americans for their contributions to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
To complement the display, the Library will host a speaker series featuring several local residents making strong contributions of their own to the Commonwealth.
The exhibit, which features panels detailing contributions from Sheila R. Baxter, James “Plunky” Branch, Beth Anne Brown, William Harvey Carney, Lott Cary, Earl Francis Lloyd, Alonzo Harding “Zo” Mourning Jr., and Jamelle Smith Wilson, is on loan from The Library of Virginia and can be viewed in the lobby during normal business hours.
The speaker series kicks off on Thursday, July 30, with former professional football player and long-time public school administrator, Kenny Lewis. The series will continue on Thursday, Aug. 6, with local community advocate Justin Ferrell, who was integral in the renovation of the historic Winslow Hospital for African Americans into an assisted living facility.
The speaker series will conclude on Thursday, Aug. 13, Shontell White will discuss the life of Johnnie Mullins Fullerwinder, author of the book “Failure was not an Option: A Test Case in School Integration,” an account of her being the first African American teacher on an all-white faculty during the 1966 school year.
All speaking events will be held at 7 p.m.
“This is a good opportunity to honor people who often times might get missed or overlooked,” said Library Director Joe Zappacosta of the display and the speaker series. “It’s also an opportunity to inform younger generations about people who have contributed to their history they may not have otherwise known.”
Zappacosta said the Library of Virginia’s exhibit recognizes different honorees each year and he hopes to do the same annually on the local level.
“I would like this series to inspire the audiences and give them hope for the future,” he said. “It really is designed to focus on the positive.”
The Library opens Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and at 9 a.m. on Saturday. It closes at 7 p.m. Monday – Tuesday, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, at 5 p.m. on Friday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The speaker series will be held in the Library Auditorium. For more information on the speaker series, visit www.ReadDanvilleVA.org. To read about the honorees in the Strong Men and Women display, visit www.lva.virginia.gov.