The Education Committee of the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Branch of the NAACP (MRF Branch) has organized a collection of black history books and pamphlets that it will donate to the Montgomery Museum of Art and History on Thursday, Aug. 11.
The purpose of the collection and donation is to make local African American history more accessible to the community by providing resources to local museums. The public, students, and community groups can gather to research and experience local history through this robust collection.
The collection consists of 25 books that tell the history of African Americans in the New River Valley and the greater region of Appalachia and eight booklets that focus more narrowly on the New River Valley and the lived experiences of African Americans in Montgomery, Floyd, and Pulaski counties and Radford City.
On Thursday, Aug. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Montgomery Museum of Art and History will have an open house in conjunction with its summer Membership Mingle. At 6 p.m. the local NAACP branch will formally present its Black History Collection to the museum, including the newly created history booklets. The event will take place at the museum’s new location, 4 East Main St., in Christiansburg. Everyone is welcome to take part in this historic community event.
“We are honored to partner with the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Branch of the NAACP to make African American history and culture more accessible to all within the New River Valley,” said Casey Jenkins, the museum’s executive director.
Deborah Travis, President of the NAACP Branch, said, “This project would not have been possible without the support of the community. We are excited to make these materials available through the museum and embrace the value it will bring to our community.”
The collection was curated by the Education Committee in consultation with curators of local history museums and with history and sociology professors from Virginia Tech and Radford University. This collection has come to life through the generous contributions of community members who purchased and donated books from a designated book list. Generous support from these donors also allowed the Education Committee to purchase and acquire rare literature and cover the cost of printing and binding of certain booklets.
The subjects of the collection of 25 books include coal mining, local education, slavery and segregation, massive resistance, and reconciliation within the region. In addition to printed material there will be QR codes to access documented oral histories.
The collection of eight booklets focuses more narrowly on the Afican-American experience in Montgomery, Floyd, and Pulaski counties and Radford City.
The following quotation from Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African History and Culture, is printed on the bookplate inside each book: “There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering.”