Sen. Joe Manchin III Honors the Legacy of Storer College
On Friday, 6 February, I had the honor and great privilege to serve as the emcee for a special recognition program on the campus of the former Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Sen.Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va) presented a Congressional Proclamation honoring the legacy of this historic institution. Several other distinguished guests also were present, including the Senator’s staff members, Sara Scarbro and Seth Coppe; Greg Vaughn, Harpers Ferry Mayor; Rebecca Harriett, Superintendent, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park (HFNHP); Robert Anderson, Acting Superintendent, Mather Training Center; Dennis Frye, Chief Historian, HFNHP; Todd Bolton, Supervisory Park Ranger; Guinevere Roper, Park Ranger; Allen Sturm, Superintendent, Jefferson County Schools; Scott Sedeth, President, Jefferson County Board of Education; Jim Auxor, Shepherdstown Mayor; Joy Lewis, Governor’s Representative; Dr. Dawne Burke, Shepherd University Professor and Author; Pete Dougherty, Jefferson County Sheriff; Gay Henderson, Blue Ridge Elementary School Librarian; John Hough, American Public University System; and James Tolbert and George Rutherford, Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society Founding Fathers and former West Virginia NAACP Presidents.
The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by the women of the Marshall-Holley-Mason American Legion Auxiliary Unit 102, including Verdeana Lindsey, Vice President and Vietnam Veteran; Gloria Lindsey, Secretary; Janet Baylor, Chaplain; Augustine Strother, Unit Musician; and Evelyn Ferguson, past Historian. Next, Park Ranger Guinevere Roper gave a history of Storer College, and James Tolbert explained the mission of the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society. Dr. Dawne Burke shared her insight and inspiration for publishing the book, “An American Phoenix: The History of Storer College from Slavery to Desegregation, 1865-1955.” Ms. Gay Henderson explained how she is extending the classroom through a special program entitled, “From Africa to Appalachia.” Sen. Manchin congratulated Ms. Henderson and presented a letter of recognition to her. Following the program, Sen. Manchin was taken on a tour of the Storer College Room, which features many pictures and memorabilia from the past. Special thanks to Sen. Manchin for bestowing this special honor on Storer College. It was especially fitting, and our good fortune that he was able to visit the campus during Black History Month. Historians often say that Jefferson County is rich in African American history, which is tightly woven throughout the fabric of our American history.