The Library of Virginia, with support from Capital One, is pleased to honor eight distinguished Virginians as African American Trailblazers for their contributions to the state and nation. Through education, advocacy, entertainment, or armed rebellion, these individuals demonstrate how African Americans have actively campaigned for better lives for themselves and their people.
The honorees are Dangerfield Newby, Evelyn Butts, Amaza Meredith, Claudia Whitworth, Oliver White Hill, John Cephas, Edna Lewis, and Leland Melvin. Find out more about each trailblazer by visiting the Library of Virginia web site.
Carolyn Owens (Reeder) knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was 12 years old. A book lover herself, she taught a nearly 9-year-old boy how to read because he had never learned in school. She grew up to teach 4th, 5th, and 6th grades, eventually going full circle and becoming a reading specialist for primary grades. She was born and grew up in Washington , D.C.
Francis Brooke, later of St. Julien in Spotsylvania County, was only sixteen when he became an officer in General Harrison's artillery regiment. This short memoir of his military service and his days afterward as an eminent jurist is peppered with the names of famous Virginians, many of whom were his friends and family members.