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Library exhibit hails ‘Strong Men and Women’

SoVaNow.com / November 06, 2013
The Boydton branch of the Southside Regional Library is hosting a National Black History Month Association exhibit until February. To introduce the topic matter to the community, the library sponsored an Oct. 26 program to illustrate “Strong Men and Women in Virginia History.”

The program featured several speakers, with the keynote talk being delivered by Palinda Carrington, a member of the Virginia Black History Month Association. One Love One Life, an anti-bullying organization active at Bluestone High School, and India Richardson, a recent graduate of the University of Richmond and a native of Boydton, also took part.

The mission of the VaBHMA is to provide community activities that highlight the positive contributions of African Americans. The organization works to show that African-Americans are, have been and will to continue to be a vital part of the American experience.

Carrington spoke of the exhibit and shared some of the names and faces that make up some of Virginia’s black history. Brigadier General Gwen Bingham, astronaut and surgeon Robert Satcher Jr., Peter Jacob Carter, Jennie Serepta Dean and Xavier R. Richardson are just some of the historic figures who comprise the exhibit.

Carrington chose her subject title through talking with her youngest son, Michael, who is an avid Washington Redskins fan.

She talked about a recent Redskins draftee, Alfred Morris, and the lifestyle he was living since joining the team. The rookie still drives his 1991 Mazda 626 and says the reason he does is to remind him to stay grounded.

He [Morris] said, ““It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point. So that’s what helps me.”

Carrington stressed to those in attendance, one reason Morris was succeeding was because he had his priorities in line: “He’s not concerned with having all the things, the’ bling’ or whatever that society says is necessary for us/you to be happy,” Carrington said.

As she further developed the story, the theme gained added dimensions: it isn’t about denying yourself nice things, but remembering the reasons for acquiring them and keeping your priorities in line.

Though Morris said one day he expects to spend his newfound wealth, for right now the car serves a very important purpose. “Having that car reminds him of what’s important and how he needs to prioritize things in his life,” she added.

She talked about how the individuals featured in the exhibit had to prioritize to achieve what they wanted in life.

And Carrington drove home a point that has always been associated with African American social and economic achievement: education.

“Education is still the key to bettering yourself and leads to opportunities,” Carrington continued. “Having an education helps you succeed in all areas of your life … including economics.

After Carrington spoke, members of the One Love One Life club at Bluestone gave a brief talk regarding bullies and how to deal with bullying.

The students made the point that bullying takes many forms nowadays, including cyber-bullying and through social media.

Tips and advice were presented to kids and adults alike regarding how to stop bullying and how to help victims of abuse.

India Richardson was the program’s final speaker and presented a PowerPoint presentation on her recent trip to Argentina. Richardson, in her first year of law school, made the point that exposing oneself to different cultures and countries gives one the opportunity to understand others better — and thus rethink the expectations and prejudices that all people can experience from time to time.

Boydton librarian Cassie Boyd thanked everyone for coming to the presentation. She added that it was her hope that through the exhibit and other activities, people will understand that African American history is not limited to one month a year — but instead has been part of America since the country was founded.


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