BARBOURSVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- At Chestnut Grove Baptist Church, the annual Black History Month Celebration is like a holiday. It has been held on the second Sunday of every February for decades.
Dr. Tamika Carey, an associate professor of English at the University of Virginia, said Chestnut Grove is her home church. She spoke at the event, pointing out local history.
"I think it's important to recognize local figures from Orange County like Edna Lewis who created one of the best cookbooks in the 1970s in an effort to celebrate her family in Unionville,” said Carey. “I would like to recognize an upcoming leader from Barboursville, Jerrod Smith, who is running for the board of supervisors in Albemarle County."
Carey said local black history should not go unnoticed.
"It suggests that we too can take a part and that the activism can't just happen in the major huge places, it's got to be day to day,” said Carey.
Pastor James Louderback said he also wants to recognize women this Black History Month.
"The women played a very good part important part and a lot of times they're not recognized,” said Louderback.
He said it was mainly women who boycotted buses after Rosa Parks' arrest in 1955. Carey said people should learn from the past tactics activists took to fight for civil rights.
"Some of the same strategies that we've used in the past of compassion, of activism, of leadership, of celebrating our own, are really things we need to be doing right now when there seems to be so much turmoil,” said Carey.
Carey said recognizing Black History Month is important so people can recognize the success and brilliance of African-Americans and have a sense of pride.