Victoria in Lunenburg County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Peoples Community Center
— Lunenburg County —
On May 13, 1947, several African American leaders in Lunenburg County met at First Baptist Church in Victoria to discuss the need for a centrally located building large enough to accommodate county-wide gatherings. Out of a need to deal with the effects of racism, Jim Crow laws, and the "separate but equal" legal doctrine, the idea to build the Peoples Community Center was born.
Mr. John E. Williams, a local mortician and shoe repair shop owner, and Mrs. Eugene Smith, chief builder and designer, led the effort in promoting and executing the plan for a new building. With no available funds, the small group was encouraged when Mr. and Mrs. R.M. Williams, owners of Victoria Supply Company, donated land and extended credit for building materials. The resulting sturdy cinder-block building was constructed mainly with volunteer labor, mostly from returning World War II veterans. It was paid for through a variety of fund-raising activities and opened around 1952.
After opening, the center was used mainly by African Americans for numerous social, educational, religious, recreational, and political activities. it was
In 1996 the center was condemned after the roof collapsed as a result of heavy snowfall and ice accumulation. However, through public and private efforts, another building was constructed using the architectural design of Mr. Joseph E. Epps. The new center was opened and dedicated on September 9, 2000.
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. (Marker Number LN1.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Charity & Public Work • Civil Rights • Education. In addition, it is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 13, 1947.
Location. 36° 59.169′ N, 78° 13.459′ W. Marker is in Victoria, Virginia, in Lunenburg County. Marker is on Tidewater Avenue just south of West 7th Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1021 Tidewater Ave, Victoria VA 23974, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow fliesNathaniel Lee Hawthorne (approx. 0.2 miles away); Places of the Past (approx. half a mile away); Businesses & Merchants (approx. half a mile away); People of Victoria (approx. half a mile away); Railroad History (approx. half a mile away); Town of Victoria (approx. half a mile away); Lunenburg High School (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lunenburg County Confederate Monument (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Victoria.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2023. It was originally submitted on September 26, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 139 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 26, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.