NAACP explores generational perspectives

Submitted by Catherine and Rudy Garcia

The Fluvanna County NAACP explored generational perspectives of Black History Month with a panel discussion Saturday (Feb. 23) at Thessalonia Baptist Church in Fork Union.

Between 50 and 60 Fluvanna residents gathered to hear the panel members speak.

The evening started off with an interesting historical background of Black History Month. Eboni Brice told the story of how Carter Woodson first instituted Negro History Week in 1926 to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans alongside those of whites. It was not until 1976 that Negro History Week was expanded to a month-long celebration, and not until 1978 that President Jimmy Carter officially recognized February as Black History Month.

Once Brice laid the groundwork of the historical significance of the month, the panelists for the evening were introduced. Bertha Armstrong represented the Silent Generation. The Baby Boomer Generation was represented by Ben Hudson. Tamika Allbaugh Braveheart represented the viewpoint of the Generation X cohort and Cassie Smith shared the viewpoint of the Millennial Generation. Dr. Shelley Murphy was also on the panel as an accomplished genealogist and expert advisor on some the historical aspects that came up during the discussion. Rounding out the panel and representing the Gen Z or Post-Millennial Generation was Fork Union Military Academy cadet Xavier Frederick.

The panelists were asked for their generational perspective on questions such as: What does it mean to have a voice in the public domain? What impact do you see social media playing in either promoting or limiting the observance of Black History Month? What, in your opinion, is the greatest hindrance to racial harmony? Do you believe that here in Fluvanna County we adequately celebrate the achievements made by local African Americans?

As one can imagine the responses were not all the same. Smith and Braveheart agreed that social media has expanded the public domain in a way that has brought about some unlikely consequences. Hudson thought that just having a voice wasn’t enough. He felt that people need to be impactful and positive in their use of their platform. Armstrong felt that having the right to participate in the public domain in and of itself was a powerful freedom, and Murphy reminded the audience that one’s “voice is short-lived.”

On the question concerning racial harmony, Frederick said that he felt “racial appropriation in society” had a negative effect. He said that Black History Month helps educate, breaks down barriers and allows people to interact in a different, more positive manner. Murphy indicated that she felt that each person is the hindrance, in that society isn’t properly taught to share and that people don’t always know how to teach sharing.

Comments from county residents who attended were all positive. “Events like this one are so educational,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip. “They help to inform me personally but also in how I do my job.”

“I think it was a great event that helped bring us all a little closer,” said Sheriff Eric Hess.

Fork Union Supervisor Mozell Booker said she was pleased that so many citizens showed up to be educated.

For more information on getting involved with the Fluvanna NAACP, visit

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