The exhibit “Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African American History in Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia” will be held at the Cooper Gallery, 122 East Washington Street, Lewisburg, WV from September 20 to October 4, 2014. The exhibit will begin with an opening reception from 5-8 on this Saturday, September 20 and be available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 11-5 and Fridays from 11-6.
This exhibit has received tremendous interest and support from people all over the country. Exhibit Curator Janice Cooley said, “I talked with Kalonji “Butch” Mwanza, once a resident of Leslie, WV and who now lives in New Mexico. He is excited that we are doing this. I have also spoken with many past residents of Greenbrier County, in Ohio, Michigan and other places, who are glad this is being done.”
Carol Haynes, noted historian of local African American genealogy, has been asked to attend the opening reception.
The exhibit will consist of a collection of photographs and artifacts, from post-civil war to today, of African Americans who have contributed to the growth and development of this area in business, religion, education, sports, politics, and entertainment as well as general family life. It will also highlight a few individuals who were born and raised in Greenbrier County, left the area and are making significant impact in various areas such as the U.S. Government, the Arts, etc.
The exhibit is free to the public and the photographs, many of which have been donated just for this exhibit, are not for sale.
In addition, on Friday, September 26, from 6-8, Exhibit Curator Janice Cooley and Greenbrier Historical Society Archivist Jim Talbert will co-host a round table discussion of an in-depth history of Greenbrier County and African Americans in the Greenbrier Valley.
Cooley said, “I hope to build on the content of this exhibit, with the help of the community and those who come to see it, and to present a larger exhibit in 2016. In addition to the Greenbrier Historical Society, Carnegie Hall has expressed an interest in partnering through the use of their exhibit space and perhaps adding some performance events.”