African American Cultural Center

First integrated band in St. Charles, VA: Smith Carson and the Black and White Melody Boys

Ron Carson shares about his grandfather’s, Smith Carson, first integrated band in the area: the Black and White Melody Boys. Their legacy throughout the South includes having played with Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley. Full footage of Ron Carson’s tour of the African American Cultural Center.  

The renaming of “Negro Head Rock”

Ron Carson showcases an old check with an emblem of what used to be called “Negro Head Rock” and shares the story about his grandmother’s 1968 petition to have it renamed. It’s now known as Stoneface Rock. Interestingly, former Student Health Coalition participants active with the clinic in St. Charles, Virginia recall having referred to …

The renaming of “Negro Head Rock” Read More »

Post-Reconstruction African American migration and the St. Charles coal camps

Ron Carson details post-Reconstruction African American migration trends from cotton fields to coal camps in St. Charles, Virginia (including migration years later in the mid-20th century to northern urban centers for manufacturing jobs) and the impact on resulting black diaspora in area. Full footage of Ron Carson’s tour of the African American Cultural Center.  

History of Rosenwald School in Pennington Gap, VA, 1930s-1960s

Ron Carson discusses the history of the Rosenwald School (or Pennington Gap Colored School, now the site of the African American Cultural Center) between the 1930s and 1960s, showcasing various school records and sharing stories about its day-to-day operations. More information about historical Rosenwald Schools in the southern United States can be found at the …

History of Rosenwald School in Pennington Gap, VA, 1930s-1960s Read More »

Dr. Daniel Gabriel’s legacy in St. Charles, VA

Ron Carson discusses Dr. Daniel Gabriel, MD and his local legacy in African American healthcare as the only doctor who in the 1940s and 50s would see black patients. Full footage of Ron Carson’s tour of the African American Cultural Center.  

Post-Reconstruction African American land ownership in Pennington Gap, VA

Ron Carson shares about the origins of the building now home to the African American Cultural Center (formerly a Rosenwald School) in Pennington Gap, Virginia. His great-great-grandmother, Rachel Scott, owned the land upon which it was built–along with a significant amount of additional acreage in the area. Full footage of Ron Carson’s tour of the …

Post-Reconstruction African American land ownership in Pennington Gap, VA Read More »