On June 21, Juneteenth was celebrated on the hill at Fourth and Monroe Streets in Lynchburg. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. The celebration of Juneteenth initially grew out of the freed slaves’ desire to remember that great day in June 1865. Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures.
The celebration at the Legacy Museum featured family-oriented music, arts and crafts, open mic, food and drink vendors, and activities for children at Legacy’s new Activity Center. Related activities included black history tours of the Old City Cemetery next to the Museum and a health and safety fair across the street at the Fifth Street Baptist Church.
The Lynchburg chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., observed Carole Robertson Day on September 27 by planting a tree at the Legacy Museum in honor of Legacy’s first president, Junius Haskins, Jr. Jack& Jill is an African American organization designed to nurture future leaders. Carole Robertson, a member of the Jack & Jill teen group in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963. Haskins, a prominent civil rights activist and civic leader, devoted his life to correcting racial injustices. He was active in many civil rights organizations and was president of the Lynchburg NAACP. He was appointed to the Lynchburg School Board in 1985 and represented Ward II on City Council from 1992 until his untimely death in 1997.
On October 24, the Legacy Museum kicked off a major fund-raising campaign with a harambee, the Swahili word for “let’s all pull together.” Visitors were invited to join Nataraja in a community drum circle, enjoy live music and a spoken-word performance, sample homemade pound cakes and tasty treats from local food vendors, and visit the current exhibit. Legacy supporters are urged to help assure the future of the Museum by contributing to the campaign.
On November 11, in connection with the Veterans Day and the current exhibit on Central Virginia African Americans in the military, Col. William A. McIntosh, President and CEO of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, presented a SRO talk entitled, “The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion: On and Beyond D-Day.” The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion was the first barrage balloon unit in France and the first black unit to go ashore in Normandy.
On November 29, a room in the Activity Center was dedicated to Thelma Mundy, the first administrator of the Museum. During the celebration, Mundy family members made additional donations in her honor. Their generosity reflects Thelma’s dedication to the Museum and proves that her work was not in vain. Legacy is growing because of the foundation established and supported by people like Thelma Mundy and her family. The Legacy Museum is enormously grateful to them.