Northam announces new state highway historical markers highlighting African American history

Northam announces new state highway historical markers highlighting African American history
In this April 8, 2020 file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. (Source: AP Photo/Steve Helber/AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam said 20 new state historical highway markers highlighting African American history have been approved by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.

Five of the approved new markers were submitted by students across the state in the Governor’s Inaugural Black History Month Historical Marker Contest.

“The Commonwealth’s storied past is complicated and painful, but it is important to step up and tell a more inclusive story,” said Northam. “As we elevate Juneteenth, celebrating and acknowledging the contributions of our Black communities and history is a critical and imperative step forward--especially through historical markers that are highly visible across the Commonwealth.”

The new markers highlight people, places or events tied to African American civil rights, education, health or the Civil War and Reconstruction-era history.

“The purpose of the highway marker program is to educate the public by presenting an objective and truthful version of history. It is past time for Virginians to more fully understand and appreciate the experiences and many contributions of African Americans who shaped the Virginia of today,” said Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources Julie Langan. “Yesterday’s actions by the Board of Historic Resources couldn’t be more timely or fitting.”

Several of the new markers will be placed around Central Virginia, including markers for the Central Lunatic Asylum and Westwood Baptist Church, both in Richmond.

For a full list and text of what each marker will say, click here.

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