The unjust deaths and other injustices against black Americans, the strife in our cities, and the division and disunity in our nation hurts all of us. This must jolt us into real action that seeks justice and a spirit of unity in the community. This Jefferson County NAACP event involves:
A peaceful gathering starting at 3:00PM in the 100 block of North George Street (at its intersection with Washington Street, beside the County Courthouse)
o Bring signs/posters calling for justice, remembering the oppressed & calling for unity
o Statements from NAACP, community, civic and law enforcement leaders
o At Jefferson County Courthouse, participants will have the option to take a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of respectful silence, prayer and remembrance of
the sufferings of George Floyd and all others impacted by racism and civil strife
o Organizers will distribute small placards with a “Prayer & Plea for a United Community” as well as a document asking citizens to take further action for justice
o All participants please wear a mask & practice proper social distancing during this time of pandemic. Free masks will be provided for those who need one.
o If you need a chair to get through this hour-long gathering, please bring one.
o Free parking available at Municipal Lot at 200 W. Liberty Street, with overflow parking areas designated on the 100 and 200 blocks of East Liberty Street, as
well as on-street parking downtown.
o The Charles Town Police Department leadership and officers are joined in this peaceful event as participants, they are coordinating traffic control and public
safety, and all people should treat law enforcement with dignity and respect as we use this event to foster further dialogue & progress. Other Jefferson County
law enforcement leadership have been invited and are expected to participate.
The James Alvin Tolbert Memorial Conference “Fighting for Freedom: Jefferson County African Americans in World War I”
Date & Time: June 29, 2018, 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Coffee will be available at 8:30.
Place & Parking: Robert S. Byrd Center for Congressional Studies and History, 213 N. King Street, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV. Free parking will be available on campus in Lot C (Princess and High Streets).
Cost: Free and open to the public
Registration: None required for general public. Staff development credit (6 hours) provided by the Jefferson County School System to its educators. Educators may register on the district’s staff development website.
In this, the centennial year of the Armistice ending World War I, the Friends of Webb-Blessing House & the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society (JCBHPS) present an all-day conference recognizing the contributions of African Americans to the Allies’ fight for freedom. Co-sponsors are the Jefferson County Historical Society, the Jefferson County Museum, the Spirit of Jefferson County newspaper, and the Shepherdstown Bag and Author Group. Emphasis
is on the impact of Jefferson County African-American WWI soldiers on their community over
the last 100 years. The conference honors the life and legacy of James Alvin Tolbert, one of the
Page 2 (cont’d)
founders of JCBHPS and a civil rights leader. Items from the Edward Dabney Tolbert
Collection at the Jefferson County Museum, donated by the Tolbert family, will be on display at the conference.
Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith, Associate Professor of History at Duke University, author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I;
Algernon Ward, founder of the Ebony Doughboys, a national organization fostering recognition of the remarkable achievements of the all-Black 93rd U.S. Army Division fighting in World War I;
George Rutherford and James L. Taylor, co-founders of the JCBHPS, and Susannah Buckles, daughter of Frank Buckles, the nation’s longest living WWI veteran, who died in 2011 at the age of 110. They will discuss the influence Jefferson County’s WWI soldiers has had on the Jefferson County community, based on their personal experiences growing up in the county.
Schedule (one may attend either or both sessions)
Morning Session (8:45 – 12): The day opens with the viewing of a short film, “A Story of Courage, Henry Johnson,” first aired on PBS. The film highlights the achievements of the all-black Army regiments during WWI, with emphasis on the heroism of Medal of Honor and Crosse de Guerre recipient Henry Johnson. Dr. Lentz-Smith will next present an overview of the significant contributions of African-American soldiers to WWI and their reception at home. After a short break, a panel discussion will follow, comprised of George Rutherford, James L. Taylor and Susannah Buckles, who will discuss the influence of Jefferson County WWI veterans on their lives and others living in Jefferson County and take questions from the audience. Dr. Lentz-Smith will be signing her book at the end of the morning session and shortly before the beginning of the afternoon session. We encourage you to buy a copy and show your support.
Lunch (12 to 1:30): On one’s own on the Shepherd campus or in town.
Afternoon session: (1:30 to 3:30): Presentation by WWI scholar and reenactor Algernon Ward, highlighting the achievements of the African-American 369th Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters) of the 93rd U.S. Army Division, including those of Storer College students/graduates who were members of the same division as the 369th Regiment’s. He will also highlight key American events adversely affecting the civil rights of African-Americans at the time of WWI.
For more information contact: Donna Northouse, firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-876-7021