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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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February 7, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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February 7, 2018
 

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SPIRIT of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE ! LIFE PAGE Bll Wednesda); February 7, 2018 Soldiers F.oM PAGE Big citizenship, and their love for America, despite the fact that they are not receiv- -ing the rights that they had been prom- ised according to the Constitution." i Historians say that between 370,000 and 400,000 African-Americans served during World War I. According to Raft, some 40,000 to 50,000 served in com- bat, with about 770 killed. Others served as logistical support and in other roles. Overseas, African-Americans could wear their uniforms and feel proud of being Americans in service, but when trey returned to the U.S some were physically attacked - even killed - while wearing their uniforms. Bryan Stevenson, the director of the Equal Justice Initiative based in Mont- omery, Ala said in a recent report pre- CHOCK MONROE ed for the nonprofit, that the "abuse Algernon Ward traveled to Charlottes- a nd assaults against black veterans have villa, Va for a museum's Veterans Day program on African-American contribu- r ever been fully acknowledged, tions to America's war effort over the ! "No'one was more at risk of expert- generations following the deadly white encing violence and targeted racial tar- nationalists rally there in August. The re- rot than black veterans who had prov- action from young people who attended en their valor and courage as soldiers gives him hope, he said. during the Civil War, World War I and He also has ties to Piedmont in Min- World War II. Because of their military eral County. A cousin who grew up service, black veterans were seen as a there, the late jazz musician Don Red- particular threat to Jim Crow and ra- man, is one of Storer's most famous cial subordination. Thousands of black graduates. veterans were assaulted, threatened, Ward said that according to family abused, or lynched following military stories, his paternal grandfather, nearly service." died in the 1930s after a cave,in while Just as Stevenson has worked to working for the Raleigh Coal and Coke chronicle all the sites of lynchings dur- Co. "Family lore has it that Slim was ing the Jim Crow era, he helped put to- buried for four days and given up for gather a list of racist attacks on African- dead," Ward said. "He was finally dug American veterans and others still serv- out in an effort to recover his body, but ing in the military, to the rescuers' surprise, they found that "No community is more deserving of he was still alive. After that, he vowed recognition and acknowledgment than never to go down in a mine again. He those black men and women veterans became a machinist and forbid his chil- who bravely risked their lives to defend dren to work in the mines. this country's freedom only to have "Indeed when they came of age, they their own freedom denied and threat- did seek employment elsewhere. My ened because of racial bigotry," Steven- father went to Trenton to find work." son wrote. Ward's eldest sister was born in Glen Ward says appearances by the Ebo- White, but he, his brother and two other ny Doughboys are highly sought after sisters all were born in Trenton, where "due to the fascinating story of those they still live now. brave soldiers." Ward said that after his presentation "Our participation in WWI battle re- in Harpers Ferry, he plans to visit fami- enactments and our appearances at mu- ly members still living in Keyser, Beck- scums, parades, schools, libraries and lay, Piedmont and in Cumberland, Md. historical sites have kept us busy," he A longtime activist in his commu- said. "Because of my familial ties to nity, Ward has served on Trent0n's West Virginia, I was assigned to be school board and on the Canal Banks the presenter of the story of the Ebo- Community Re-Development Project. ny Doughboys of Storer College and He earned a degree from the College, Jefferson County at Harpers Ferry and of New Jersey, formerly Trenton State the opening of the parks service's new Coltege. Ward serves as a Community World War I exhibit." Advisory Board member. Ward's ties to West Virginia go back Bringing to life the work of African- to Glen White, the Raleigh County coal Americans who served their country in camp where both his grandfathers - uniform is no mere hobby, Ward said. Robert Redman and and James "Slim This is a mission to tell the story of Ward - rived and worked in the mines, the contributions of African Americans It's where his parents, Algernon Ward to the history of the United States," he Sr. and June Redman, met at a dance, said. HISTORY DOUG PERKS e In May 1782, the Virginia en without the certificate went to General Assembly enacted leg- jail. islation which authorized the Ten years later in 1806, the manumission of enslaved men General Assembly revisited pre, and women. The law included vious legislation regarding both several caveats regarding both ensla,;,ed and free blacks. The age and physical condition, and result was "An act to amend the it also required that the emanci- several laws concerning slaves." pator provide "a copy of the in- Just as in 1793, there was con- strument of emancipation, at- cern over the number of free tested by the clerk of the court men and women. This time the of the county"-an all-important solution was both simple and document called "free papers," devastating. Passed in January proof that the bearer had been 1806, the new law "requires that emancipated. Although commu- any freed slaves leave the state nities like Charles Town, Harp- within 12 months." Free men ers Ferry and Shepherdstown and women could request per- were small enough that emanci- mission to remain in the Com- patton of formerly enslaved men monwealth beyond 12 months. and women was general knowl- Initially, the requests were sent edge, the law provided dire con- to Richmond for processing, sequences if proof of emancipa- but overwhelmed by the annual tion was not provided, numbers of requests to continue The 1782 law was modified to reside in their home counties, in 1793. After 10 years of man- the approvals were remanded to umission, there was a growing the local county court. This is concern about the increasing the system which applied to free numbers of"free negroes." Con- men and women in the first de- sequently, the General Assembly cade of Jefferson County's axis- revised the law to require coun- tence. ty clerks to maintain a numbered Written records for enslaved registry of "free negroes" which men and women who lived in recorded their vital statistics to antebellum Virginia are difficult include "age, name, color, status to find. Census records list the and by whom, and in what court total number of those enslaved emancipated." Once registered, but afford no personal informa- free black men and women were tion such as a sumame. In most issued a certificate of emanci- cases the will of a slaveholder patton which cost 25 cents, and lists enslaved men and wom- which had to be renewed every en by name, but in many caB- three years. Further, the law re- es only a first name is record- quiredthat employers hiring free ed. Because there is no gener- blacks certify that those hired al index of these names record- held an emancipation certificate, ed in a will, anyone attempting Employers who violated the law to locate an ancestor who was were fined. Free men and wom- enslaved must first determine by whom the ancestor was en- slaved. Without some knowl- edge of by whom the ancestor was enslaved, attempts to lo- cating an ancestor is sometimes impossible and always time consuming. In 19th-century Virginia, a fortunate few African-Amer- icans were free people. Some had been manumitted by their owners while others had raised funds to purchase themselves. Regardless of the method, they had attained freedom, and many remained in place in counties where they had been emanci- pated, thus living under evolv- ing law as it applied to free men and women, and some of them owned property. When Jefferson County was formed in 1801, written records of these free men and women be- gan to accumulate in the court- house. In addition to the laws which required clerks to keep a registry of free black men and women, clerks also kept a record of who paid tax on what. Over the next few weeks we'll exam- ine the personal property tax re- cords to see what evidence ex- ists regarding free black men and women who were riving in Jefferson County, Virginia. - Doug Perks, a Jefferson County native and retired history teacher, is the historian at Charles Town's Jefferson County Museum, which will re-open in the spring Tour to highlight county's African-American heritage CHARLES TOWN - Anyone interested in learning more about the African-American history of Jefferson County can sign up for a free tour of- fered this weekend bythe jefferson County Coun- d[bnAging. George Rutherford - the Charles Town native, longtime president of the Jefferson County branch of the NAACP and co-founder of the Jef- ferson County Black History Preser- vation Society - will lead the Black History Month tour, set to start at 10 a.m. Sat- Jefferson urday. "It open to all ages," explains Gloria Hodges of at noon. the Council on Aging. "You don't have to be a Jef- ferson county resident to attend, but you do need to call 304-724-7111 to reserve a seat." Hodges said Rutherford will share information about a number of sites including the Curtis Memorial Chapel on the Storer College campus in Harpers Ferry and Charles Town's Webb-Blessing House, St. Phillip's Episcopal Church and Fish- erman's Hall. Those interested will gather at the County Council on Aging at 103 W. Fifth Ave. in Ranson, where the bus will return !" Persons whom receive, rental income On properties located in the City of Charles Town are subject to Business & Occupation (B&O) tax on the rents received, per the City of r: Charles Town Ordinance 745. This : includes hosts of Airbnb's, Please contact City Halt to set up your ; Business & Occupation tax account or if you have questions concerning the ordinance or B&O taxes. Phone: 304-725-2311 101 E. Washington St./PO Box 14 iilj : www charlestownwv us ill: Facebook ;8997 m IN 0 N TH E There's still time to advertise in the upcoming Celebrating Jefferson County's Honor Roll Students - the beautiful keepsake special section that every proud parent and grandparents looks for! Contact Mary Burns 304'725-2046i extension 223 or email mary@spititoljefferson,com Ads for every budget (black and white, spot color or full color) - and we can design your ad at no extra charge! A weekly visit from YOU can make a lifetime of difference to a child! V CdNIA GET INVOLVED www.readaloudwestvirginia.org For more information about Read Aloud-Jeff. Co contact: Laurie Saunders 703-727-2518 outlook.com Soul food program slated for Feb. 25 SUMMIT POINT - TheImmediately following the Jefferson County NAACP formal presentation, the soul will sponsor its annual Black food tasting will take place in History Month program and the church's dining hall. soul food tasting this month Organizers say the tasting at the Ebenezer Mt. Calvary is free. The public is welcome Holy Church here. and encouraged to bring a fa- Jim Taylor and George vorite dish to be sampled. Rutherford, founding mem- Anyone interested in learn- bers of the Jefferson County ing more may call Janet Jef- Black History Preservation fries, NAACP Communi- Society, will speak at the pro- ty Relations chairwoman, at gram, set for 3 p.m Feb. 25. 304-725-4094. !~.~:~!~ :