As part of a campaign that began last year, Danville Transit continues to promote Black History Month with a full wrap advertisement on one of its buses. Actually, the advertisement was never taken down since it was placed on the bus last year, and it will remain in place for its service life. This blog provides some background of Danville Transit’s efforts to promote Black History Month, followed by summaries of the contributions of each of the prominent individuals featured on the advertisement.
The idea for the wrap was conceived by a transit agency Transportation Advisory Committee member, after observing a bus wrap on one of Greensboro, North Carolina’s buses featuring an image of the race car driver Wendell Scott. Marc Adelman, Danville Transit’s director, did some further research, discovering a mural developed by Corpus Christi, Texas’ transit system, which was then used as an inspiration for the Danville Transit Black History Month bus wrap.
The bus wrap advertisement features pictures and names of 12 prominent African-Americans who made important contributions in some way to the United States or to their communities. When one thinks of prominent African-Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often comes to mind. However, when developing this advertisement, effort went into identifying lesser-known African-Americans who attained notoriety due to their contributions. The ad features six individuals on one side of the bus and six on the other.
to learn more about Danville Transit, such as its routes, Reserve A Ride, or Handivan service, please visit https://www.danville-va.gov/508/Mass-Transit.
Following are the names and brief summaries of the prominent African-Americans featured on the Danville Transit bus advertisement:
- E.B. DuBois
W.E.B. DuBois was originally from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, first encountering the segregated South while attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in the mid 1880s. Following his time at Fisk, he enrolled in Harvard University, in 1895 becoming the first African-American to earn a PhD from that university. DuBois co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909 and served as a pre-eminent voice for the rights of African-Americans during the early part of the 20th century.
- Ralph Bunche
Ralph Bunche may be best known for his role in helping to establish the United Nations and assisting in drafting its charter. Born during the first decade of the 20th century, Bunche graduated high school as valedictorian and later graduated top in his class from the University of California. In addition to his achievements establishing the United Nations, Bunche achieved notoriety for the role he played in mediating armistice agreements between Israel and other nations of the Middle East; for this, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. Bunche was active during the civil rights movement, participating in the March on Washington, D.C. in 1963, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bunche was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President John F. Kennedy that same year for his contributions to world peace via the United Nations.
- Maggie L. Walker
Maggie Walker is known as the first African-American who served as the proprietor of a bank, the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Born in Richmond, Virginia, she served for many years in a number of prominent positions with the Order of St. Luke’s, the mission which served elderly and ill African-Americans throughout the City. In her capacity, she founded The St. Luke’s Herald, which was the organization’s newspaper. That publication’s mission was to encourage African-Americans in Richmond to create their own institutions, as a means to generate prosperity.
- Carter G. Woodson
A child of former slaves, Carter G. Woodson’s early life involved working on a family farm, followed by mining work in West Virginia. However, his thirst for learning led him to pursue his high school education and subsequent graduation, followed by earning a degree from Kentucky’s Berea College. He later earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, after which he served as a Howard University faculty member, where he was promoted to the level of Dean. In 1926, Woodson founded the precursor to Black History Month, originally known as “Negro History Week.” In addition, Woodson wrote numerous books about Black history.
- Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington was born as a slave on the Burroughs Farm in nearby Franklin County in 1856. Following emancipation of the slaves, Washington relocated to West Virginia with his family, where he attended school while working in coal mines. Washington was so dedicated to his education that he traveled on foot to the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in our Commonwealth of Virginia, arriving there with no money. He graduated from the institution with honors in 1875, having studied a variety of subjects, including agriculture. In the 1880s he was recommended for and appointed as principal of the new Tuskegee Normal School, which was a new school in Alabama dedicated to educating Blacks to serve as teachers. In addition to simply serving as principal, Washington led development of the Tuskegee Normal Institute from its humble beginnings in a “shanty” to a 2,000-acre campus comprising more than 80 buildings that served 1,500 students pursuing education in 37 industries, over a 25-year period. In addition to his enormous contribution to African-American education, Washington authored 40 books. The Booker T. Washington National Monument can be explored in the nearby area of Westlake Corner, in Franklin County.
- Fannie Lou Hamer
Born in Mississippi in 1917 to sharecroppers, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in poverty and later worked on a plantation after having to leave school. Hamer was passionate about securing for Blacks the right to vote, and became an organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. In 1962, she led a number of volunteers to register to vote, but endured harassment from law enforcement and was fired from her job as a result of her efforts. After a successful voter registration in Charleston, South Carolina in 1963, she was badly beaten after she and other African-American women sat in a Mississippi restaurant that catered to Whites only. Hamer was co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the mission of which was to challenge the Democratic Party in the local area in regard to that party’s efforts to exclude participation by Blacks. She also organized Freedom Summer in the mid-1960s, an event that involved college students assisting with Black voter registration in the South, which was segregated at the time. Hamer later helped to establish the National Women’s Political Caucus. She also founded the Freedom Farm Cooperative, the mission of which was to help African-American farmers to succeed economically via the organization’s donations of pigs via a “pig bank,” and by donating land for farming.
- Bishop Lawrence and Gloria Campbell
Bishop Lawrence and his wife, Gloria, have served Danville in many ways since the 1960s. During the 1960s, Bishop Lawrence was an organizer for civil rights in the City. However, much of his life has been devoted to his faith and that of the community in his service as pastor. He first established Bibleway Cathedral in 1953 in an empty lot; the church later moved to an appropriate building, and is still in existence today. Additionally, the pastor served as the chief apostle of Bibleway Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ for several years, serving as presiding pastor over more than 300 churches in multiple nations.
- The Edmunds Brothers
Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds both made history in 2018 by their acceptance into the first round of the National Football League (NFL) draft. A third Edmunds brother, Trey, had been accepted into the NFL at an earlier time. The three played in the same game in 2019, with Tremaine representing the Buffalo Bills, and Trey and Terrell both representing the Pittsburg Steelers.
- Representative John Lewis
Representative John Lewis was the son of Georgia sharecroppers, and was very active in civil rights during the 1960s. Some of the activities he took part in included non-violent demonstrations to counter segregation, as well as a march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama at which he was attacked by state troopers. This event helped to contribute to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Lewis served a Georgia district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1986 until his death in 2020.
If you use Danville Transit or Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART) for commuting or non-commute trips, don’t forget to log these into the RIDE Solutions app to earn discounts for shopping, dining, services, and entertainment, or for opportunities to enter periodic raffles to for the chance to win great prizes such as gift cards! If you haven’t done so already, download the RIDE Solutions app for FREE at www.ridesolutions.org!
 “Bunche, Ralph Johnson.” The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Stanford University. Retrieved February 3, 2022. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/bunche-ralph-johnson.
 Norwood, Arlisha R., NWHM Fellow. “Maggie Lena Walker.” National Women’s History Museum. 2017. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/maggie-lena-walker.
 “Carter G. Woodson.” NAACP. Retrieved February 2, 2022. https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/civil-rights-leaders/carter-g-woodson.
 “Dr. Booker Taliaferro Washington.” Tuskegee University. Retrieved February 3, 2022. https://www.tuskegee.edu/discover-tu/tu-presidents/booker-t-washington.
 Edited by Michals, Debra, Ph.D. “Fannie Lou Hamer.” National Women’s History Museum. 2017. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/fannie-lou-hamer.
 “Black History Bus Wrap.” City of Danville, Virginia. Retrieved February 3, 2022. https://www.danville-va.gov/2292/Black-History-Bus-Wrap.
 Heyen, Billy. “Tremaine, Terrell and Trey Edmunds brothers mark second-generation NFL family.” The Sporting News. December 13, 2020. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/edmunds-brothers-tremaine-terrell-trey/6h803z10104n1gjc9kzcb66e9.