Downtown Christiansburg gets African American Storyboard approval

New River Valley News

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WFXR)– Tuesday night saw a major step towards change as Christiansburg’s Mayor D. Michael Barbour and members of the Christiansburg Town Council approved an African American storyboard. It will be placed in the center of downtown.

The community packed the town hall on Tuesday, July 15 as Christopher Sanchez, Executive Director of the Christiansburg Institute, and officials from Montgomery Museum of Art & History spoke about education, slavery, and community life.

“Part of what we are wanting to do is tell that truth, because actually not many folks seem to know that. So, as we move forward if we say we want to rebuild, and we say we want to build trust, we have to be honest,” said Sanchez.

Both non-profit organizations created a joint partnership to propose the African American Storyboard. This will include a three-panel storyboard that discusses education, slavery and community life regarding African American history. The community can enjoy these panels downtown and read up on the rich history.

According to Wornie Reed, Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and Director of Race and Social Policy at Virginia Tech, he hoped the town council would not feel pressured to say no, adding that including black experience in the Town of Christiansburg is a part of the local history and community members should know about it.

Ryan Wesdock, Chair of New River Valley Greens, says that as a history teacher he believes that it is important to have a full picture of America’s history. In his classroom he knows how important it is to teach the truth, and he wants to make sure that same understanding is all around.

Even with the feedback from the community, the support did not go unrecognized. By the end of the public hearing, the town council decided to allow the project to be placed in the downtown area of Christiansburg, where a Confederate monument still stands to this day.

The mayor and the town council agreed to supplying the $12,000 budget to begin construction. At this time there is no set date on when the project will be completed.

WFXR News will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest information as it comes into the newsroom.

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