Her thoughts — Booker T. Washington National Monument

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, June 9, 2022

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Booker T. Washington was a visionary who exhibited a good work ethic, was unpretentious and believed that patience in elevating one’s station in life were keys to success.

The Booker T. Washington National Monument, located in Hardy in Franklin County, is a treasure that commemorates Booker T.’s birthplace and legacy. The park, which is 239 acres, depicts his childhood home and includes the majority of the tobacco plantation’s 207 acres along with a replica of an 1850s tobacco farm. You can go each day of the year except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Interpreters will give demonstrations of what life was like for Mr. Washington on the farm during the Civil War. Prayerfully and with an abundance of hope, I plan to visit in the not-so-distant future to experience what Booker T. Washington’s childhood was like.

In addition, Booker T.’s life and legacy are explained with various exhibits in the monument’s visitor center as well as an audio-visual presentation interpreting his career and accomplishments. The national park also includes a picnic area enclosed in a wooded atmosphere, an animal farm with sheep, pigs, horses and chickens and a garden where you can learn about 1850s gardening techniques.

The monument also boasts a self-guided tour experience along the quarter-mile Plantation Trail where the open buildings can be explored. Moreover, one can see natural plants along the Jack-O-Lantern Branch Heritage Trail, which is 1.5 miles through fields, forests and many acres of the park.

Sites such as The Booker T. Washington National Monument are vital to preserving and interpreting the vast and diverse history we have in Virginia and throughout the United States. In the preservation of African American history, having a national monument of this magnitude can depict an aspect of Black history with authenticity and an immersive experience that can give visitors an education that can rival any textbook.

The Booker T. Washington National Monument celebrates an accomplished statesman, orator and educator who encouraged and expected hard work in education and dignity in the labor that one has been blessed to do in order to earn a living. Whenever you get a chance visit this monument and others like it. History comes alive at these places.

Judy Moore is a tour guide at The Central High Museum who can be reached at v5agabond2@gmail.com.She lives in Wylliesburg.