The “Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African American History in Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia” exhibit will open on June 28 at the visitors center in Alderson.
It will be open daily from June 28-July 9 from 1-5 p.m. Greenbrier Historical Society Board Member Janice Cooley has curated this unique exhibit of African American history in the Greenbrier Valley and will be installing portions of it in the Alderson Visitor Center.
Cooley said, “I have a passion for the history of African Americans in this area. My own roots go deep here and I realized that so many of my contemporaries as well as the younger generations had no idea of the struggles and achievements of our ancestors. If this information is not preserved, it will soon be lost.” Cooley has received state-wide recognition for this exhibit.
Photography really came into its own during the Civil War. Before then, there were few photographs of anyone or thing and almost none of African Americans. Even after the Civil War and for many years, photographs remained the purview of the wealthy and there are few photographs of those who were considered second class citizens. Finding photographs which exist and using them to tell the heretofore “invisible” history of African Americans in the Greenbrier Valley is the mission of the “Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African American History in Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia” exhibit.
The exhibit will consist of a collection of photographs and descriptions, from post-Civil War to today, of African Americans who have contributed to the growth and development of this area in business, religion, education, sports, politics, and entertainment as well as general family life.
Mayor Travis Copenhaver said, “I am excited to have this exhibit in Alderson at our visitors center during the July 4th Celebration. Alderson would not be what it is today without the contributions of our African American citizens, including our most famous one – Bricktop, the internationally known jazz entertainer.”
Sponsored by Alderson Main Street, the exhibit will be open daily from 1-5 p.m. June 28-July 9 at the Alderson Visitors Center.