In 1994, Carolyn Hemphill and a group of classmates from John M. Gandy High School created The Hanover County Black Heritage Society to uncover and preserve the local history of African Americans. The Society seeks to enrich and promote stronger family and community unity through their findings.

Mindful of its goals and to increase the appreciation of Hanoverís African American legacy, the Society has undertaken some landmark projects. A museum space exhibiting local African American artifacts, manuscripts, photographs and other significant memorabilia has been established in the Henry Clay Inn; a traveling exhibit has also been assembled. Publications include Town of Ashlandís African American Heritage Trail, One and Two-Room Schools: African American Education in Hanover County, 1870-1960 and Malagasy Free Black Settlement in Hanover County, Virginia During Slavery.

The Society raised awareness and encouraged the sensitive relocation of the slave cemetery at Rutland when the historic home was moved. With a grant from Hanover County, the Society placed a historical marker at Abner Church honoring 19th-century minister John Clarke. A centennial anniversary celebration of the Barrett Juvenile Correctional Center was co-sponsored with the Hanover Heritage Alliance and the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

Click here to visit the Hanover County Black Heritage Society's website.
Click to close