PEOPLE, PLACES, AND MEMORY: AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILIES IN ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA
Location of families featured in this exhibit. The African American families presented here are only a small portion of the historic community present in Orange County. The legacy and contribution of African American families in Orange is wide ranging and diverse. Over the next few years, with your help, we hope to record additional family stories in Orange County to preserve our historic legacy.
Please help us in the process by filling out the family history form below and placing it in the box. We will contact you for further information and all concerns for family privacy will be respected.
The White Family Cemetery near Monrovia. Cemeteries record the identity of our ancestors. The family cemetery plots that dot Orange County are a critical part of our African American past and present. These cemeteries, especially unmarked family plots, are in peril with the wave of development our county is facing today. By recording the location of family cemeteries, we can begin to raise awareness of their importance and preserve them from destruction.
Photograph of “planted stone” marking the corner boundary of the Gilmore Family Farm at Montpelier. Acquiring land was a critical part of the African American experience in the post- emancipation era. Families worked for decades to save money for purchasing land where family homes were built. Owning land allowed successive generations to build upon the hard work of the previous generation—something not possible under slavery. Recording family history of early homes, land, and cemeteries preserves the critical achievements of our founding families.
Local churches in Orange have produced anniversary pamphlets that record memories, photographs, and community history. Much of the information in this exhibit comes from such publications and these booklets have inspired the creation of this exhibit. Recording such family history is critical as our family members become older—once a family sage passes away, all memories are lost unless recorded.