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The Hero from Hopewell: The Rev. Curtis W. Harris and the Civil Rights Movement (Black History Month)

February 2 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Just three months before Curtis Harris was born, the Virginia State Legislature passed the Racial Integrity Act, which banned interracial marriage down to “a single drop” of African blood. Harris was the sixth child of an impoverished sharecropper and his wife, living in a desolate outpost of the commonwealth while the sweeping regulation was passed by the most prominent men in the state. In time, however, Harris would lead the fight against this law and many others designed to maintain the control of the white majority over minorities in Virginia and in the rest of the South. His inspirational story follows him from Dendron to Hopewell and then to the forefront of America’s civil rights battles, arm in arm with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Arrested multiple times, beaten and discriminated against, Harris persevered to change entrenched racism and become the first Black mayor in his hometown. Admired and honored, he serves as a symbol of what be accomplished by a lone individual with the courage to demand justice.

William Paul Lazarus holds an M.A. in communication from Kent State University and an ABD in American Studies from Case Western Reserve University. He has published a variety of books on Americana, including The Sands of Time: 100 Years of Racing in Daytona BeachGuide to American Culture; and Virginia’s Civil Rights Hero Curtis W. Harris, Sr. The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker. This is a virtual event hosted by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. The lecture will be recorded and streamed on YouTube and Facebook.