Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soldiers of the Coalfields

While the focus of this blog is African American history and genealogy in Northern Virginia, I wanted to share some news from West Virginia. A new exhibition, “Forgotten Legacy: Soldiers of the Coalfields,” opened earlier this month at the Kimball World War I Memorial in McDowell County, W.Va. It examines the role of African Americans in World War I, an important part of American history that is often overshadowed by the Civil War and World War II. It also means a lot to me because it was produced by a professor and students from West Virginia University, where I went to college.

Copyright 2010 by Forgotten Legacy WWI

Dedicated in 1928, the Kimball Memorial was the first – and only – building erected to honor the service of African Americans in the First World War, so it seems an especially appropriate setting for “Soldiers of the Coalfields.” The exhibit looks at African Americans who came to McDowell County in the early 1900s from the South to work in the coal mines and who served in the military to fight oppression in Europe at a time when they were still oppressed in their own country.

Kimball World War I Memorial 
from  the Soldiers of the Coalfields Facebook page

The team that put this project together comes from WVU’s journalism school and not its history department, and I found this to be intriguing. Journalists and historians both critically evaluate sources and interpret events to share with others so it does make sense when you think about it. Their use of new media makes this exhibit accessible to those of us unable to visit with a virtual tour, a close-up look at the concepts behind the exhibit, and even an explanation of the value of artifacts and historical documents “as shards of material culture.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Alexandria’s First NAACP Branch

The Alexandria Branch of the NAACP considers 1933 to be its official organization year. But an earlier branch was established in 1919, although it became inactive by the late 1920s. More than 50 people signed up to join the new Alexandria Branch in 1919, each paying $1 apiece for their first year of dues. The application for charter, on file at the Library of Congress, lists their names, addresses and in most cases, occupations.


 Alexandria Branch Charter Application Cover
Branch Files, Records of the NAACP, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

This transcribed list of charter members is sorted alphabetically by last name.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Occupation
W.C.
Arnold
311 North Patrick Street
Undertaker
James
Ballard
316 North Henry Street
Leon C.
Baltimore
600 South Washington Street
Teacher
Preston
Baltimore
600 South Washington Street
Clerk
William H.
Bell
414 North Patrick Street
Helper
Randolph
Blue
910 Princess Street
Messenger
Julia
Blue
910 Princess Street
Domestic
C.C.
Brooks
804 Prince Street
Chauffeur
Georgina
Byrd
510 Gibbon Street
Domestic
Mary Jane
Carter
309 North Patrick Street
Frank
Corbin
118 South Peyton Street
Store Keeper
James W.
Gaines
121 North Henry Street
Clerk
Aaron
Gaskin
224 1/2 North Payne Street
William
Hams
317 North Alfred Street
John
Harris
E. Adolph
Haynes
614 South Washington Street
Clergyman
Edmund J.
Hill
1014 Wythe Street
Lawyer
James T.
Holmes
803 Gibbon Street
Store Property
John H.
Jackson
523 South Columbus Street
Clerk
Malinda
Jackson
523 South St. Asaph Street
Clinton
Jackson
809 Wolfe Street
Messenger
Daniel
Jackson
707 Wolfe Street
Machinist
Washington
Jackson
1500 King Street
Hotel Property
Shadrach
Jackson
523 South Columbus Street
Driver
George
Jackson
709 Wolfe Street
William
Jackson
809 Wolfe Street
Evelina
Jackson
910 Princess Street
Domestic
Samuel M.
Johnson
509 South Columbus Street
Clergyman
Claude N.
Lane
417 North Henry Street
Clerk
Mary
Lane
417 North Henry Street
Alice
Lee
421 North Patrick Street
Mrs.
Malkire
209 South Peyton Street
Domestic
Samuel
Meddy
421 Oronoco Street
Author (Arthur?)
Parker
418 North Patrick Street
Insurance Agent
W.A.
Price
813 Montgomery Street
Clergyman
O.
Rector
603 Gibbon Street
Luther
Redd
611 South Alfred Street
Helper
Fred. H.
Rich
135 South Peyton Street
Insurance Agent
William
Russell
421 North Henry Street
Helper
Laura
Skelton
709 Wolfe Street
Harvey
Smith
1253 Ringgold Street, Phila.
Wheelwright
Rosier
Thompson
509 Gibbon Street
Messenger
Samuel A.
Tucker
916 Queen Street
Real Estate Agent
G.R.
Turner
613 South Alfred Street
Helper
Andrew
Wanzer
1316 Cameron Street
Edward
Washington
211 Peyton Street
Thomas M.
Watson
518 South St. Asaph Street
Lawyer
Marcellus
White
413 South Union Street
Ship Build
Samuel
Williams
603 South Pitt Street
Ship Build
Sarah
Williams
603 South Pitt Street
Domestic
L.H.
Williams
312 North Payne Street
Printer
William H.
Willis
429 North West Street
Insurance Agent