C.W. Seay: From Dunbar to City Council

C.W. Seay: From Dunbar to City Council

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.

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Lynchburg’s African American Batteaumen and Packet Boatmen

Lynchburg’s African American Batteaumen and Packet Boatmen

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.

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First Three Lynchburg African American Women Voters

First Three Lynchburg African American Women Voters

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.

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Dr. Mahlon Loomis: Pioneer of Radio

Dr. Mahlon Loomis: Pioneer of Radio

When talking about the invention of radio, the first name that comes up is always Guglielmo Marconi, who began experimenting in 1895. While it is true that Marconi was very successful (by 1899 he had established wireless connections between Britain, France, and several prominent islands), the moniker “The Father of Radio” is not one hundred percent true. In fact, the first known occurrence of wireless aerial communication was conducted in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Lynchburg by Dr. Mahlon Loomis in 1866, a full eight years before Marconi was even born.

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The Wansley Case

The Wansley Case

Lynchburg, Virginia, 1963–In the heat of the Civil Rights movement, Thomas Wansley, a sixteen-year-old black teenager was convicted of two counts of rape and one count of robbery by a Lynchburg Corporation Court jury. Wansley was sentenced to death for each rape charge and given an additional twenty years for the robbery charge. This conviction would set off a chain of events that would last for more than ten years.

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A City of Churches: A Glimpse at Lynchburg's Churches

A City of Churches: A Glimpse at Lynchburg's Churches

Throughout Lynchburg can be found various churches of different sects and times. Downtown, there are churches that date back to the 1800’s and are beautiful architectural pieces. Court Street United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, and Holy Cross Catholic Church are just the beginning. 

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Lynchburg Letters from Confederate General Raleigh Edward Colston (1825-1896)

Lynchburg Letters from Confederate General Raleigh Edward Colston (1825-1896)

While his military performance is met with mixed reviews of success and challenges, his letters to his family including his wife, Louisa, and daughters, Lou and Mary, are, at times, sharply honest but also personal, kind, and nostalgic for a time gone by. 

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Court Street Baptist Church

Court Street Baptist Church

Court Street Baptist Church is located at 517 Court Street and is considered the “mother church” of all African American Baptist churches within Lynchburg. Originally known as the African Baptist Church, the Court Street Baptist Church congregation dates its beginnings to 1815 while worshiping at the First Baptist Church. 

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Confederate General Robert Rodes

Confederate General Robert Rodes

Robert Emmett Rodes was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1829. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1848 where he studied civil engineering. He also taught at his alma mater as an assistant professor until 1851 and left when a promotion he desired was given to Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. After leaving the Virginia Military Institute, Rodes went on to become the chief engineer for the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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