really came into its own during the Civil War. Before then, there
were few photographs of anyone or thing and almost none of African
Americans. Even after the Civil War and for many years, photographs
remained the purview of the wealthy and there are few of those who
were considered second class citizens. Finding photographs which
exist and using them to tell the heretofore “invisible” history of
African Americans in the Greenbrier Valley is the mission of the
“Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African
American History in Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia” exhibit.
The Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) is excited to partner with
the Cooper Gallery and Exhibit Curator and GHS Board Member Janice
Cooley to present this unique exhibit of African American history in
the Greenbrier Valley at the Cooper Gallery in Lewisburg from
September 20th to October 4th, 2014.
Marilyn Cooper, owner of the Cooper Gallery, said, “When Janice came
to me with this idea, it was very exciting and I am happy to partner
in the development of the exhibit and to host it here at the Cooper
The exhibit will consist of a collection of photographs and
artifacts, from post- civil war to today, of African Americans who
have contributed to the growth and development of this area in
business, religion, education, sports, politics, and entertainment
as well as general family life.
Janice Cooley, Exhibit Curator, said, “I have a passion for the
history of African Americans in this area. My own roots go deep here
and I realized that so many of my contemporaries as well as the
younger generations had no idea of the struggles and achievements of
our ancestors. If this information is not preserved, it will soon be
The exhibit will open with a reception beginning at 5:00 p.m. on
Saturday, September 20, 2014 and continue through October 4 at the
Cooper Gallery in Lewisburg, WV.
PHOTO CAPTION: Students and Principal from the Christopher Payne
School in Ronceverte, West Virginia prior to the end of segregation
which ended in Greenbrier County in January 1956.