Museum celebrates 20th anniversary

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

By Anna Bultrowicz

Special to The Charlotte Gazette

The Charlotte County community gathered at Southside Virginia Community College on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Central High Museum.

“Each year we celebrate our black history program, but today we also wanted to highlight (the museum’s) 20th year here,” said Dr. Hezteine Foster, president of the museum.

For the anniversary celebration, the museum collaborated with the Blackstone Community Chorus, led by Marian Bouldin, to put on a four-part musical production. The performance was a dramatization of African-American life from slavery to modern times that illustrated the evolution and importance of African-American music. The chorus performed a wide variety of songs, ranging from slave hymns to contemporary gospel.

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“It’s very important to know your history. To know the ups and downs, and the struggles that all races have made,” said Foster, “If you don’t know your past, you can’t embrace the future.”

The theme of the celebration was “Reflecting on the Past, but Still Moving Forward.”

The afternoon event included greetings and remarks from Foster; Charlotte County Division Superintendent Dr. Nancy Leonard, Cullen/Red House Supervisor Dr. Nancy Carwile, and Prince Edward County Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride.

Included in the program was a memorial service led by Deacon Royal Freeman and several poetry readings. The works of poets, such as Langston Hughes, were recited, and the readings were concluded with a poem titled “Dr. King,” which was written and performed by Catherine Jackson.

A particular emphasis was placed on the importance of youth and education during the ceremony. In her opening remarks, Leonard reflected on the importance of providing an equal opportunity education to all students in light of recent debates about education.

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Near the beginning of the afternoon, 18-year-old Mikayla Streat performed a solo of “There Is Power” by Lincoln Brewster. She volunteered, along with several other young people, to perform in the ceremony and help celebrate African-American history.

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“My grandmother (Foster) inspires me the most because she was the first African-American principal to integrate schools at Appomattox,” said Streat, who hopes to attend the University of Mary Washington after she graduates from Prince Edward County High School.

The Central High Museum highlights the contributions of African Americans in Charlotte County, focusing particularly on the role that education has played in the lives of Central High School students. The museum honors the accomplishments and history of Central High students and alumni.

Last year, the museum celebrated its grand opening at its current location. The new building, which is right next door to the museum’s previous facility, offers more space to exhibit the museum’s extensive archive of Central High publications and its varied collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

The Central High Museum has free admission and is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month from noon-2 p.m. The museum is located at 513 Thomas Jefferson Hwy. in Charlotte Court House.

For more information, visit or call (434) 542-4699.

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