Charleston Woman's Improvement League
In 1898, black women in Charleston, West Virginia organized a self-help civic organization called the Charleston Woman’s Improvement League. The League sponsored cultural events, supported education, and promoted a variety of causes that were important to members of the city's African American community. The women were particularly active in mentoring young women, creating two auxiliary organizations-- Polly Pigtails for children and the League Teens for young women.
Littlepage Mansion-Charleston Civil War Trail
Charleston, like the rest of western Virginia, was contested territory during the early years of the Civil War. Confederate troops attempted to capture and hold the city at several points of the war. A marker at this location tells the history of this first engagement in Charleston. In July of 1861, Henry Wise's Confederates attempted to build a small fort at this location in anticipation of a battle with Union troops under the command of General George McClellan. The owner of the property, Rebecca Littlepage, reportedly denied Wise's demands and successfully compelled the Confederates to both leave and spare her home from destruction as they had originally promised.
Memphis Tennessee Garrison House
Memphis Tennessee Garrison spent the majority of her life living in rural Appalachia. After teaching in a one-room school in Gary, West Virginia, she retired to Huntington. Throughout her life she worked to secure resources for schools, supported local civil rights initiatives, and became a vice president of the NAACP. Garrison lived at this home during the 1950s to the 1980s and opened her home to many in the community. She also used the home to host numerous meetings where leaders of the African American community came together to discuss their challenges and propose solutions. Today, members of the Huntington community are working to preserve the home and include it on the National Register of Historic Places.
Diamond Teeth Mary Memorial Marker
Mary Smith was born on August 27, 1902 in Huntington, West Virginia. Living in an abusive environment, Mary left home at the age of 13, hopped a train, and joined the Rabbit Foot Minstrels in Memphis, Tennessee. From this point on, Mary became known as "Walking Mary," singing for the traveling minstrel show. Mary's half sister was the famous blues singer Bessie Smith, whom she preformed with later on in career. From the 1920s to the 1940s Mary's career took off crisscrossing with numerous blues and jazz legends. Mary became wildly popular towards the later years of her life, and was finally given the recognition she deserved. She passed away in 2000, and her ashes were scattered along the railroad tracks in her hometown of Huntington.
The Shack Neighborhood House
Located in the Scott’s Run community, the Shack Neighborhood House offer a safe and inclusive space for local children and family to learn and play. Scott’s Run experienced rapid industrialization from 1917-1932, followed by a quick decline during the Great Depression. Racked by poverty, a young missionary, Mary Behner, turned an abandoned schoolhouse into a community center and a lasting legacy.
Katherine Johnson Conference Room
Room G64, in the Engineering Sciences Building (ESB) on West Virginia University's Evansdale Campus was renamed the Katherine Johnson Conference Room in early 2017, shortly after the film Hidden Figures was released. The film tells the story of a team of African American women mathematicians, including Johnson, who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. Born in White Sulfur Springs, Katherine Johnson was one of three students to desegregate WVU's graduate school in 1939.
Elizabeth Moore Hall
West Virginia University’s Elizabeth Moore Hall has served as a women’s physical education facility, women’s graduate student dormitory, office of the dean of women, and home of numerous campus organizations such as the Panhellenic Council and Associated Women Students. The three-story, red brick Georgian Revival structure was built between 1926 and 1928 to house the university’s physical education program. In 1938, the dean of women’s office was relocated to the building. A 1962 addition added extra gymnasium and classroom space. It was listed on the National Register in 1985.
West Virginia Folklife Center
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is located on the Fairmont State University campus. The Center is dedicated to the study, preservation, and interpretation of this region's cultural heritage and offers a variety of events throughout the year. These educational programs include lectures, festivals, and a variety of exhibits and musical performances. The center also publishes books, educational guides for teachers, and a journal.
International Mother's Day Shrine
In 1905, the tradition of honoring mothers for a day began at Andrew's Methodist Church. In that year, Anna Jarvis asked the superintendent of her late mother's church if a ceremony could be held to honor mothers. Ann Jarvis has served as a Sunday School teacher for the congregation for twenty years, and fellow members of the church supported her daughters' idea. Recognizing Anna Jarvis' role and the support of church members in starting the tradition, the church is now known as the International Mother's Day Shrine. Congress officially recognized Mother's Day in 1908, three years after Ann Jarvis' passing. Anna Jarvis dedicated her life to keeping the holiday's focus on actions rather than the purchase of gifts. Jarvis even called for the abolition of the holiday when she felt that the day's observance had become to commercialized.
The Jonathan and Laura Jackson Arnold House
The Jonathan Arnold House was the home of Laura Jackson Arnold, sister of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. A strong Unionist, Laura opened her home to Union troops during the Civil War. Laura helped heal the wounded while also providing shelter and food. Prominent figures passed through this house such as Union General George McClellan, who was an acquaintance of Stonewall Jackson's at West Point. Laura and her brother Thomas had once been very close, but owing to their differing views on the question of secession, their relationship became antagonistic and the two never resolved their differences before Thomas's death in 1863. Because of her assistance to federal forces, Laura was praised by Union troops during the war and remembered with great respect and admiration by Union veterans after the war.
Belle Boyd House and the Berkeley County Museum
This house once belonged to the infamous Belle Boyd and houses the Berkeley County Museum. The museum provides visitors with a place to attend meetings, seminars, and view historical artifacts of Martinsburg and Berkeley County. Belle Boyd was born in West Virginia in May of year 1844. Boyd became a Confederate spy before her 18th birthday and conveyed information and supplies to Southern military leaders. Belle's gender and age allowed her to travel without being suspected and searched by Union soldiers. However, press reports of Belle's exploits quickly changed that and began her life outside of the law. Boyd was regularly arrested. She eventually moved to England, where she wrote a memoir about her spy-related exploits. Belle later became an actress, but died on stage in Wisconsin in June of year 1900 at age 56.
Coralie Franklin Cook House, Harpers Ferry, WV
Coralie Franklin Cook was an 1880 graduate of the nearby Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. She taught Elocution and English at Storer College from 1882 through 1893. According to Historic Harpers Ferry, Coralie Franklin Cook purchased this home in Harper's Ferry in 1884. Coralie Franklin Cook, having been born into slavery, is notable as the first descendant of a Monticello slave to graduate college. Additionally, she became a distinguished professor at Howard University, an orator, writer, and suffragist.