Woman and children in front of her home near Childress,
thought to be former slave Jane Day Robertson, 1904.
(D. D. Lester Collection, Montgomery Museum)

Beginning in 2018, Christiansburg Institute, Inc., and Montgomery Museum of Art & History staff, board members, and local community members began to organize to take meaningful action in order to preserve and increase awareness about Montgomery County’s deeply rich African American history and culture.

The group set out to do this work by determining a set of shared values that would guide the project: truth-telling and reconciliation, specifically around challenging and sometimes contested histories where generational harm and racial trauma is ongoing and narratives are competing.

The desired outcome of our work will be the erection of three new history and educational storyboards in Downtown Christiansburg, Virginia. The desired location of this joint endeavor is the town-owned quadrant in front of the Post Office in Downtown Christiansburg.

Together, Christiansburg Institute and the Montgomery Museum received Town Council approval to cultivate this public space with the addition of interpretive storyboards and an art installation to creatively illustrate African American history. The signs are themed as follows: ‘Community Life,’ ‘Education,’ and ‘Slavery in Montgomery County.’