In recognition of a significant void in the history of African Americans in Hanover County, Carolyn Hemphill along with a group of classmates from then, John M. Gandy High School (the public high school for African Americans during segregation years) decided to dig deeper into the history of African Americans in Hanover County. The Society seeks to uncover and preserve the history of African Americans in Hanover County and to help enrich and promote stronger family and community unity through our historical findings. Our goal is to educate the public by increasing their awareness and appreciation of Hanover’s legacy.

What has the Society done?

  • Sponsored an oral history project that identifies eight African American families whose lineage dates back 100-150 years.
  • Published a twenty-five page monograph called Town of Ashland’s African American Heritage Trail.
  • Published a monograph called One and Two Room Schools: African American Education in Hanover County, 1870-1960. Four extensive interviews done as part of this project are in our archives, in both taped and transcribed form.
  • Assembled a Traveling Exhibit that enables the various displays to be located in sites around the County.
  • With a grant from the Hanover County Historical Commission, completed work on the preservation of the Rutland Slave Cemetery located on Route 301.
  • With a grant from the Hanover County Historical Commission, established a County Historical marker honoring the nineteenth-century minister, John Clarke.
  • Co-sponsored with the Hanover Heritage Alliance and the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice a celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Barrett Juvenile Correctional Center, commemorating Janie Porter Barrett.

Yearly Activities:

  • Juneteenth Celebration
  • Participation in the Ashland Christmas Parade

Board Members

Saleema Ansari

Clyde Derricott

Reber Dunkel

Frances Foster

Phyllis W. Holloway

Suzette Jackson

Lloyd Lawrence

Eric J. Lewis

Sue Nelson

Deborah J. O'Dell

JP Payne

Jerome C. Ross

Everette Spindle

Kelli P. Williams


Alphine W. Jefferson

Beryl Thompson Carter
Vice President

Donald A. Makosky

Carolyn T. Hemphill

Mary Randolph Waddy
Financial Secretary