African-Americans play a pivotal role in the culture and history of West Virginia. Rooted in servitude, their brave efforts would help tame wilderness, build industry and create the only state born of the Civil War.
The African-American presence in West Virginia dates from the 1780s, when European exploring parties brought slaves to the Greenbrier and New River valleys. During the French and Indian Wars, blacks aided the army as it moved through the New River and Big Sandy valleys up toward the Ohio River and helped to stake claims for white settlers.
The Weston Colored School - This school served as the only educational facility for black youth in segregated Weston from 1882 through May 1954. It was the fourth school building erected with public funds specifically for black children in West Virginia. Eight grades were taught to children ranging in age from six to 16.
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Dr. Carter G. Woodson - Woodson had served as principal of Douglass High School in Huntington and dean at West Virginia State College, Institute, WV. After earning a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912, he published the influential "Journal of Negro History," the "Negro History Bulletin," and a series of seminal books. In 1926, he launched "Negro History Week," which has been expanded to "Black History Month." In the fall of 1995, the city of Huntington erected a statue in his honor.
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