by Charlene Graves; Photos by S. Hale
Roanoker’s now have another highlight to celebrate during February, Black History Month. It will also be known as the month that the Gainsboro Interpretive Panels were presented to the public. On Saturday, Feb. 22, Phase I of the Gainsboro Historic Walk came to completion.The panels, located on Wells Avenue in the plaza behind Hotel Roanoke, are permanently there for observation for all to see.
The well-attended affair was held in the hotel’s Shenandoah Room whereby City Council Member Bill Bestpitch reminded everyone of the “ongoing commitment and support needed just as much in the future as we proceed with the remaining three phases of this project.” Later during the program the councilman presented two family members of the Tuskegee Airmen with crystal stars, representing the Star City.
Constance Crutchfield, president of the Gainsboro Southwest Community Organization, (GSCO), greeted the audience and spoke of her organization’s past projects, including the installation of street light fixtures reflecting the period. Also mentioned were the organization’s plans for constructing a park for children of the neighborhood.
by S. Rotan Hale
“African art is functional, it serves a purpose. It’s not dormant. It’s not a means to collect the largest cheering section. It should be healing, a source of joy, spreading positive vibrations,” is a quote by hip hop icon Mos Def that is inscribed on a plaque over one of many pieces of African art presently featured at the Harrison Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC).
by S. Rotan Hale
A congregation of family, friends and associates gathered at the Harrison Museum of African American Culture for a recognition service honoring the life of Ruby Dearing Bolden who passed in 1984. Ruby’s son Chaplain Willard Bolden, US Navy, (retired), led the service at which various encouraging stories were told of the late family matriarch.
A homegoing service of pride, praise and triumph, honoring the life of Albert Byron Smith, was held at his beloved High Street Church on Saturday, March, 1, 2014, with Rev. Ulas Broady officiating. The name A. Byron Smith has been a household name throughout the Roanoke Valley for well over a half century. Whether through his oil company, his real estate, insurance, bail bonding or other professional services, few area residents have not at some point, utilized the services of A. Byron Smith during the better part of a century.