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2019-3-7

Researcher Publishes Open Letter to Lynched Culpeper Man

This family picture of the Thompson family, about 1905 or 1906.From left, Lillian, Myrtle, mother Ida and Allie Thompson. Charles Allie Thompson was murdered at the hands of a lynch mob in Culpeper County, Virginia on Nov. 25, 1918. Photo courtesy Lorraine Nickens, niece, and Otis Jordon, nephew, of Allie Thompson.

The simple stone that marks the grave of Allie Thompson, in the family cemetery in Amissville. Photo by Allison Brophy Champion

By Kaytlin Nickens, Capital News Service

 

RICHMOND — “Working in the trenches, side by side with people,” as Zann Nelson said, highlighted the beliefs her father instilled in her youth. Growing up in Culpeper County, Nelson said she learned of a deeper truth to American history, and her father reminded her that people should be seen through the lens of equality.

Those experiences motivated her pursuit to make Virginia the first state to acknowledge the horrific crimes of the Jim Crow era.

Nelson, a researcher and a columnist for the Culpeper Times, initiated a resolution that passed the General Assembly acknowledging with “profound regrets” the lynching of over 80 African-American men. Nelson is the former director of the History of Culpeper Museum, where her research began.

“The culminating thing for me was when I took the position at the local museum and I could see first-hand histories were not being told,” Nelson said.

In 2005, a reporter contacted Nelson about the lynching decades earlier of an 18-year-old black man, Charles Allie Thompson of Culpeper. At that time, she said the only thing she had come across were two news articles published two days after Thompson’s murder.

“I wanted to know more,” Nelson said. She spent the next 13 years investigating the 1918 lynching of Thompson, hoping to bring some reconciliation to his family.

“Thirteen and a half years of perseverance is what got this resolution to pass,” Nelson said.

Nelson then worked with Culpeper Star-Exponent reporter Allison Brophy Champion on a series about the homicide and the various families affected. But she realized she needed to expand her scope.

“I discussed with a friend -- she brought it to my attention that I was just going after one person and encouraged me to look further into some kind of request,” said Nelson.

Nelson began emailing and visiting legislators. Nelson first reached out to Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, and Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon. The legislators asked Nelson if she would be willing to draft a resolution.

“The resolution is more than a piece of paper and consists of directives that will encourage ongoing research and recognition: particularly in the form of the database and the collaboration with the (Virginia Department of Historic Resources) on a marker program,” Nelson said. “This is not the end, but rather the beginning of a long and overdue journey to truth and the hope of reconciliation.”

Nelson took her resolution draft to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, which helped her advance her resolution, by forming a work study group called the History of Lynching in Virginia.

The resulting measures, HJ 655 and SJ 297, passed the General Assembly unanimously. The legislation calls “for reconciliation among all Virginians” regarding the racial terror, state-sanctioned segregation and discrimination faced by African-Americans during the Jim Crow years.

According to the identical resolutions, the state will document the lynchings online and with historic markers. The goal is to bring awareness of Virginia’s lynching history, for “healing and reconciliation in Virginia’s still-wounded communities and for families and descendants affected by lynchings.”

The resolutions note that more than 4,000 lynchings took place throughout the South between 1877 and 1950. At least 80 lynchings — some scholars say more than 100 — occurred in Virginia.

After the legislation was passed, Nelson wrote an open letter to Thompson, who went by Allie, published in the Culpeper Times on Feb. 21. In her letter, Nelson details the process for getting the resolutions passed and the importance of Thompson’s legacy.

“Allie, I assure you it is not just lip-service to the shameful past,” Nelson wrote in her letter.

“In closing please allow me to thank you. You may think that your loss of life was for nothing, but you would be wrong. Allie, it is because of you that this historic piece of legislation has come to pass: the first for any state in the United States.”

Jarratt Hardware’s Spring Open House – FREE Community Event for All!

On Saturday March 23, 2019 from 10am to 4pm, Jarratt Hardware will be hosting aFREE family fun day full of learning opportunities. Lunch will also be provided at no cost from 12-1PM. Jarratt Hardware’s Spring Open House eventis a community event for all ages. The store is teaming up with local Virginia Cooperative Extension offices in Greensville/Emporia and Sussex County, as well as the Southside Beekeepers Association, to provide a fun learning day at the store.

At the event, youth and their families will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun, agricultural hands-on activities, learning about beekeeping, hatching chicks, raising chickens, gardening, soil fertility, lawn health and more.

Come learn about beekeeping with representatives from the Southside Beekeepers Association and learn how to start and manage your own hive. 4-H Youth Development will be providing fun, interactive games and activities for youth to learn all about chickens, bees, pollinators, local youth opportunities and more! Local 4-H Teen Club members and 4-H Livestock/Animal Club members will be present at the event to assist with educational games and activities. Come see live chicks hatching and learn how you can raise your own flock. Baby chicks, as well as all supplies needed to raise chickens and start beekeeping, will be in stock for purchase the day of the event.

Local soil scientists and store owners, Andy and Alexis Jones, will be discussing soil fertility and lawn care at the event. Soil testing supplies will be present the day of the event. Come with your soil samples and any questions that you may have about soil fertility and grass growing!

Greensville County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee will be on hand during the event with giveaways for the children and informational handouts for Agriculture Education. Pine View Nursery will be at the event as well showcasing their beautiful flowers and garden plants ready for planting this spring. Local Girl Scout troop #540 will also be onsite during the event to sell their delicious Girl Scout cookies. Many organizations from across the community will be present, so this is definitely an event you do not want to miss!

Come and see Jarratt Hardware, under new ownership, striving to increase the diversity of their inventory (hunting supplies, building materials, etc.) as well as increase in availability of special orders. Theywill have a few in-store specials available during the event. Spring lawn and gardening needs will be in stock for this event. We hope to see you there!

FREE lunch will be provided for all from 12:00-1:00PM. The event will be held at Jarratt Hardware, located at 111 Jarratt Avenue, Jarratt, VA.

For more information about the event, please call Jarratt Hardware at 434-535-8137 or Virginia Cooperative Extension at 434-348-4223.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in the 2018 4-H Camp, please contact Hannah D. Parker, at the Extension Office no later than two weeks prior to the date assistance is needed.  Our office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Small Business Workshop

Longwood Small Business Development Center will present How to Write a Business Plan, Financing Options,  SWaM Certification &  Business Insurance in Colonial Heights on March 27, 2108

If you are thinking of starting or have a small business and want to learn how to write a business plan, learn about financing options, SWaM certification & business insurance, this free workshop is for you! 

Some of the topics will be:

  • Why do you need a business plan? How to prepare and   present your business plan and what are some marketing strategies and financial planning information to enhance it.

  • What financing options are out there and what do lenders look for?

  • What is SWaM certification? How can it help your small business and how do you get SWaM certified?

  •  Why you need business insurance and how it will protect you and your small business.

The workshop will be held on March 27, 2019,9:00am-11:30am in theColonial Heights City Council Chambers at201 James Avenue in Colonial Heights.

Please click here to register.

 

 

 

Governor Signs Law Banning All Tobacco Products at School

By Alexandra Zernik, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — School boards must ban any tobacco or other forms of nicotine products from all school property and school-sponsored events under legislation signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Northam signed HB 2384 and SB 1295, which expands existing law to include:

·A wider variety of nicotine products, such as vapes and e-cigarettes in addition to tobacco

·A broader range of school property, such as school buses and school-sponsored events off campus.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, will require all local school boards to develop and implement comprehensive tobacco-free policies.

“The recent and dramatic rise in youth smoking and vaping represents a serious public health crisis that requires our attention and action,” Northam said. “We have a responsibility to prevent our children from being exposed to all types of tobacco or nicotine-containing products.”

Northam noted that when he was a state senator, he led efforts to enact a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants. He sees HB 2384, sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, and SB 1295, introduced by Sen. Lionel Spruill, D-Chesapeake, in the same way.

“As governor, I am proud to sign this legislation that will make Virginia schools and communities safer and healthier,” Northam said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that use of tobacco products by American youth is on the rise — largely because of the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes.

Nationwide last year, more than 27 percent of all high school students used a tobacco product within the past 30 days, according to a survey by the CDC. About 21 percent of the students had used e-cigarettes, and 8 percent regular cigarettes. (Some survey respondents used both types of products.)

That represented a big increase in vaping: In the 2017 survey, fewer than 12 percent of high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

Northam noted that as of fall 2017, about 12 percent of Virginia high school students were using e-cigarettes — almost twice the proportion of teenagers smoking traditional cigarettes.

The U.S. surgeon general and the federal Food and Drug Administration have declared the sudden increase in e-cigarette use an epidemic. They fear a new generation of young people may become addicted to nicotine if actions aren’t taken to prevent it.

Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources, Daniel Carey, praised the legislation signed by Northam.

“This law will not only protect Virginia’s children from exposure to second-hand smoke, it will also help to establish a tobacco-free norm, allowing students to make better choices about their health when it comes to saying no to tobacco products outside of school,” Carey said.

According to State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, a statewide survey found that 84 percent of adults in Virginia — including 75 percent of smokers — agree that all nicotine products should be banned from school grounds and activities.

“While 40 school districts in Virginia already have established this type of policy, the new law will expand protection to children in all of our public schools,” Oliver said.

Northam previously signed into law legislation raising from 18 to 21 the age to buy tobacco and nicotine products.

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