Anthony Kinzer, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture, was invited to take part in a panel discussion for “Who Is My Neighbor?,” a program designed to expound upon the experiences of immigrants in West Virginia from different countries and backgrounds. The event took place on March 2, 2019 at South Charleston’s Blessed Sacrament Church and was hosted by Marshall University Associate Professor Isaac Willis Larison, PhD. Other panelists that took part in the panel discussion along with Mr. Kinzer were Dr. Anita Walz, Dr. Paulus Wahjudi, and Ms. Maria Levina,
The other presenters at “Who Is My Neighbor?,” an event that was made possible by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council, were: Dr. Fred Barkey, historian, and Professor Emeritus from Marshall University; Ms. Rajia Hassib, author, teacher, and speaker; and Rabbi Victor Urecki.
Stay tuned to this page for for photos from this event! The original flier is below.
The mayor of Keyser, Damon Tillman, recognized the 96-year-old Clifton Eugene Brooks for his heroic service to his country. Brooks is the only living Living Tuskegee Airman in West Virginia. Keyser’s South End Park will soon be called Brooks Park. There will be a bronze plaque that will have a picture of Clifton Brooks, and it will mention his work with the Tuskegee Airmen.
The second annual Salt Fest took place in Malden on October 20th and 21st. Along with a parade, the event featured a variety of food vendors, live music, and child-friendly activities. Local historian Larry L. Rowe (pictured above) spoke on the development of the African-American middle class in Malden in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Portrait by Frederick F. Hightower, pastor at All Nations Revival Center, in Institute, WV
The West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture would like to honor the memory of The West Virginia State University alumnus, Lou Myers. A champion for improving the image of West Virginia, Lou was best known for his role as Mr. Gaines on the TV show “A Different World.” The accomplished stage, screen and television actor recently passed away at the age of 67.
September 28-30, 2017
Davis Fine Arts Center, West Virginia State University
Presentation of Lou Myers portrait Painting by Rev. Fredrick Hightower
Announcement of Lou Myers Scholarship Fund which will be used to benefit students in music, theater, and fine arts.
Contact: Patricia Schumann: WVSU Foundation
Phone: 304-766-3021 – Fax : 304-7663308
On her 100th birthday, the West Virginia native and NASA mathematician recently brought to life on the big screen in the Hollywood blockbuster “Hidden Figures,” was honored with a bronze statue and $200,000 endowed scholarship bearing her name at West Virginia State University. The ceremony took place on August 25, 2018. Katherine Johnson was in attendance, along with United States Senator, Joe Manchin and the artist who enshrined Katherine’s likeness in bronze, the immensely talented Pastor Frederick F. Hightower.
Black Past, the incredible historical book written by the late James D. Randall and Mrs. Anna E. Gilmer with 269 Pages of Charleston WV and Kanawha Valley has been a resounding success.
In 2007, Dr. Harris she was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Anthony Kinzer, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture was honored during the Freedom Fund Banquet Awards Dinner, on August 25, 2018 at the West Virginia State University Center.
Sandy Wells of the West Virginia Gazette interviewed Anthony Kinzer, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture about his life of volunteerism for the May 28, 2018 edition of the paper.
By Anthony Kinzer Sr. Jul 12, 2018
Anthony Kinzer Sr. & Mrs. Anna E. Gilmer co-author with the late Mr. James Randall of the book ‘Black Past’ at press conference to announce re-print and distribution July 2, 2018
L-R, Anthony Kinzer, Director of WV Center for African American Art & Culture (WVCAC); Mrs. Anna Evans Gilmer, co-author of Black Past; David Hays, of WVSU Bookstore at press conference about the re-printing of Black Past at Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Monday, July 2. The historic collection of photographs and facts about African American communities in the Kanawha Valley was first published in 1989. The 2018 re-printing and distribution is a project of WVCAC) Three hundred copies were printed by WVSU Printing Services. Black Past is on sale at WVSU Bookstore, Taylor Books, and the West Virginia Marketplace at Capitol Market for twenty-five dollars.
Learn More About the Release of Black Past:
Congratulations to Anthony Kinzer and the WV Center for African-American Art & Culture, Inc. with Dr. Michelle Mickle Foster, President & CEO at the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation on the reprinting of Black Past, which captures some of the history of the Kanawha Valley’s Black businesses, schools, churches, and organizations. Thank you to Alisa Bailey and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau for supporting this venture. The books are being sold at Taylor Books, Capitol Market & WV States University bookstore
Anthony Kinzer Sr., Mrs. Anna E Gilmer, and Mrs. Chlorine Carter ( Ms.Clo)
West Virginia Center for African- American Art & Culture, Inc. Now makes available this historic book by the late James D. Randall & Mrs. Anna E. Gilmer with 269 Pages of Charleston WV and Kanawha Valley with pictures and detailed description. Cost $25.00. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your copy today!
Mural at Charleston Yeager airport honor Tuskegee Airman in baggage claim area.
Mr. Anthony Kinzer Sr. was honored with the Community Collaborator Award for Global Impact at the AKA’s Public Meeting held April 20, 2018 at the Charleston, West Virginia Civic Center. The theme for the meeting was ‘Mountains Moved: The Power of Progressive Leadership.’
KEYSER, W.Va. – More than 200,000 veterans live in West Virginia, making it the state with the largest number of veterans per capita. This Veterans Day, one West Virginia vet and his ten comrades finally received the recognition they deserved. On Friday, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin honored the Wereth 11, which is composed of 11 African American soldiers killed in the line of duty during World War II. James Stewart, one of those soldiers, was raised in Piedmont, W.Va. “They surrendered. They were captured. [They were] hopeful to save lives, and they did,” said Kip Price, military lecturer. Price has advocated for years to share their story.
Photo by Howard Tyree
For his generous work in the Charleston community and beyond, West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture Director Anthony Kinzer was announced as a member of the West Virginia All Black Schools Sports and Academic Hall of Fame. The awards ceremony took place on Friday and Saturday, September 16–17, 2016.
Photo by Christian Tyler Randolph, Charleston Gazette-Daily Mail
On Saturday, May 14, 2016 the West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture held a ceremony to celebrate the offical dedication of John Norman Street. John Norman Street spans two blocks of the former Lewis Street between Dickinson Street and Leon Sullivan Way. It was renamed to honor two African American men — John Norman Sr. and John Norman Jr. John Norman Sr. was the first licensed African-American architect in West Virginia, and his son was a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. Sam Fouad, son-in-law to John Norman, Jr., was the event’s keynote speaker.
On Monday, January 18, 2016 the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission recognized the West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture with its distinguished Service Organization Honor Roll Award. The organization’s founder, Anthony Kinzer, accepted the award which recognizes ‘Excellence in Service to the Community.’
Two blocks of Lewis Street between Dickinson Street and Leon Sullivan Way are set to be renamed to John Norman Street to honor two African American men — John Norman Sr. and John Norman Jr. — whose careers left an imprint on the city and beyond. Join us on Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm as we honoring the legacies of John Norman Sr. and John Norman Jr. with the dedication of John Norman Street — Intersection of Shrewsbury Street — in downtown Charleston. Event set to include special guests, speakers, live music, and food! Please join our mailing list to receive updates on the event.
Sponsored by the West Virginia Center for African-American Arts and Culture and the Charleston Blues Society.
Two blocks of Lewis Street between Dickinson Street and Leon Sullivan Way are set to be renamed to John Norman Street to honor two African American men — John Norman Sr. and John Norman Jr. — whose careers left an imprint on the city and beyond. John Norman Sr. was the first black man to be a licensed architect in West Virginia, designing buildings such as the old Ferguson hotel and theater, while Norman Jr. was a Garnet High School valedictorian and who went on to become a world-renowned heart surgeon. “The individuals who have created the foundation of the Charleston’s African-American past have to be recognized, because without their accomplishments our future can not be our future,” said Anthony Kinzer with the West Virginia Center for African-American Art and Culture.
Learn More About the Renaming:
Anna Gilmer and James Randall first outlined Charleston’s rich collection of black history in the West Virginia Beacon Digest, a newspaper geared toward the state’s black population, she said. The two profiled black leaders, businesses and churches, and eventually they realized it should be published as a book.
Gilmer and Randall chronicled much of Charleston’s black history — particularly around The Block, Charleston’s registered black historic district — in “Black Past.” That information has been revived and come off the page with a display of excerpts and photos at 601 Morris Street, by Appalachian Power Park.
When Anthony Kinzer and Henry Battle were walking through the Elizabeth Harden-Gilmore home a few years ago, they expected they might encounter some history. Still, the funeral ledgers they stumbled upon were a surprise. So was the headstone of a World War I veteran.
Three bricks were placed along the sidewalk at the corner of Shrewsbury and Washington Streets in Charleston on Saturday afternoon, each etched with the name and likeness of a building that once stood there.
Anthony Kinzer overlooked a gray, barren parking lot along Lewis Street and imagined an emerald-colored park complete with markers explaining the area’s historical significance.Kinzer, director of the West Virginia Center of African-American Art and Culture, met with reporters and locals in front of the proposed park Thursday.
As a young girl who grew up in the 1940s and ’50s in Charleston, Chlorine Carter remembers playing with kids her age in what she called a “mixed neighborhood.” Although segregation between blacks and whites existed, Carter, a black woman, said one of her best memories from her childhood is living in a neighborhood with multiple races.
Charleston has a handful of historic districts, scattered about the city. There’s the East End, with its grand homes, Edgewood, Grosscup Road, downtown and Elk City—all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But when Anthony Kinzer wanted to add the historically black neighborhood centered on “The Block” of Shrewsbury Street, just north of Washington Street, he learned a sad fact: Too much of the old neighborhood has been destroyed to qualify for the national register.
West Virginia is a state steeped in history. It’s evident in stories and folklore and in small towns scattered among the mountains. But perhaps no other small town offers a microcosm of West Virginia history like Malden, a town just a few miles outside Charleston.
West Virginia History Heroes Anthony L. Kinzer has promoted public recognition and understanding of the record of African Americans in local, state, and national history for nearly a decade. In 2000, he founded the West Virginia Center for African American Art and Culture, which secured funds for the ongoing rehabilitation of the Harden-Gilmore Funeral Home in Charleston, cooperated in bringing several black-history exhibits to the area, and conducts the annual “Valley Heritage Tour” that features black-history sites from Malden to downtown Charleston. Through his efforts, a slave burial ground adjacent to Virginia’s Chapel in Cedar Grove was cleared and an access walkway and nearby roadside park are being constructed. Kinzer currently is researching the 1956-59 civil rights movement in Charleston. Nominated by Kanawha Valley Historical and Preservation Society, Inc.
West Virginia History Heroes Charleston attorney Katherine Dooley has worked tirelessly for nearly ten years with the J. R. Clifford Project to bring West Virginia’s African American and civil rights history to citizens across the state. She has led dozens of programs, telling the story of how African Americans have worked for justice and achievement in West Virginia. Dooley has given particular attention to the history of African American attorneys, and her work with the J. R. Clifford Project has led to numerous research projects, publications, and maps. She also has encouraged participation in the “Your Voice in History” oral history project of the West Virginia Center for African-American Art & Culture and is co-director of the play “A New Home for Liberty.” Nominated by West Virginia Center for African-American Art & Culture, Inc.
West Virginia History Heroes Richard Leon “Casey” James has been a member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Center for African American Art and Culture since 2009. He participates in the organization’s signature project, Annual Valley Heritage Tour, and also is providing vital input for designation of a new local historic district in Charleston that covers a significant portion of the black historic area. James has attended meetings with the landmarks commission and city planning commission and is a member of North Side Historic Community Group, which will facilitate the project. He is president of the Garnet High School Alumni Association and author of In the Hollow: One Mile from Here (2009).Nominated by West Virginia Center for African American Art and Culture, Inc.
Anthony Kinzer Sr. donates Black History Posters to State of West Virginia in 2014
Anthony Kinzer, Sr. with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Dr. Carolyn Stewart, Executive Director of Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs
Governor Bob Wise names Anthony Kinzer 2001 Distinguished West Virginian
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