As principal of Dunbar High School from 1938 to 1968, Mr. Clarence W. “Dick” Seay was a leading representative for the African American community in Lynchburg. He spoke out against injustices within the education system and encouraged black schools to hire black educators, administration, personnel, and to seek black leaders for the School Board. Seay ended his career with Dunbar in 1968 after leading the school to be one of the top rated black high schools in the segregated South.
Few things are more quintessentially “Lynchburg” than batteaux and packet boats. These vessels traveled up and down the James River, and later James River & Kanawha Canal, connecting Lynchburg to the wider world. African Americans played key roles in operating these boats, which drove Lynchburg’s economy until the advent of the railroad.
August 18, 1920, marked the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. In Virginia the Nineteenth Amendment was not ratified until 1952. However, the delayed passage did not inhibit women from voting in the 1920 presidential election between Republican candidate Warren Harding and Democratic candidate James Cox. Twelve women in Lynchburg paid poll taxes and registered to vote on the first day of eligibility.