Virginia Department of Historic Resources honors Danville woman with highway marker

Southside Virginia News

(Photo: Courtesy Danville Government Facebook)

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Monday marked a historic moment for the City of Danville thanks to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

A state historical highway marker was dedicated to Camilla Williams — a Danville native and the first African American woman to secure a contract with a major U.S. opera company in 1946 — on Monday, Oct. 18. The marker highlights the contributions Williams has made throughout her life.

The marker showcases Williams’s career between 1919-2021. During that time, she worked with the New York City Opera, where she played Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Williams also performed in Danville, raising money for civil rights demonstrations. Before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, Williams sang the national anthem at the March on Washington.

This historic marker can be found standing at 238 West End Avenue.

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