NRV Black History Book Collection

NRV Black History Book Collection 2The Education Committee of the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Branch of the NAACP (MRF Branch) has organized the NRV Black History Collection of books and pamphlets. The purpose of the collection 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.

On Thursday, August 11, from 5-7pm, the Montgomery Museum of Art and History will have an open house in conjunction with its summer Membership Mingle. At 6pm the MRF 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 Street, Christiansburg, VA and all are welcome for 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 Executive Director, Casey Jenkins of the Montgomery Museum. Deborah Travis, President of the NAACP Branch, stated “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 collection has two parts: 25 books that tell the history of African Americans in the New River Valley and the greater region of Appalachia, and 8 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. The subjects covered 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.

Two sets of the Book Collection have been donated to the Montgomery Museum of Art & History. The following quotation 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.” -Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director of the National Museum of African History and Culture.