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


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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. 

Guest speakers

 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,, 304-876-7021  

The James Alvin Tolbert Memorial Conference “Fighting for Freedom: Jefferson County African Americans in World War I”2020-05-07T02:35:31-04:00

Jefferson County Candidate Forums Announced

The Jefferson County NAACP will sponsor three forums this spring. Only the candidates that have opposition in the Primary will participate in the forums, however the unopposed candidates will be given 2 minutes to present their platform. Listed are the date, time and place of each the forum. The public is encouraged to come and participate in the forums.


Board of Education Candidates Forum

7pm, Wednesday, March 28th

Jefferson County Commission Room

200 E Washington Street

Charles Town, WV

Facebook Event


House of Delegates and County Commission Candidates Forum

7pm, Thursday, April 12th

Jefferson County Commission Room

200 E Washington Street

Charles Town, WV

Facebook Event



23rd District Circuit Court Judge Candidates Forum

7pm, Wednesday, April 18th

St Phillips Hall

411 S Lawrence St

Charles Town, WV

Facebook Event


For additional information call: 304-725-9610

Jefferson County Candidate Forums Announced2018-03-20T20:38:55-04:00

Black History and Soul Food Tasting Program Announced

Black History and Soul Food Tasting Program

Our 2017 Program in Charles Town


The Jefferson County NAACP will sponsor its annual Black History and Soul Food Tasting Program on Sunday, February 25, 3pm at the Ebenezer Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Summit Point.   James Taylor and George Rutherford, founding members of the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, will be the program speakers.  A special feature will be Lucah Togans, a youth who will discuss his special project entitled “Racial Segregation in the US Military”.  The exhibit will be on display.  Lucah is the grandson of Larry and Carolyn Togans.

Immediately after the program, the soul food tasting will take place in the church’s dining hall.  The tasting is free.  The public is welcome and encouraged to bring their favorite soul food to be sampled.

For further information or questions, call Janet Jeffries, NAACP Community Relations chairperson, at 304-725-4094.

The Jefferson County NAACP is in the midst of its first quarter membership drive and will receive paid memberships before and after the program.  Individuals and organizations are encouraged to join. For information on joining, please contact Ann Nawaz at 304-725-9610.

Black History and Soul Food Tasting Program Announced2020-05-19T01:40:34-04:00
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