Two markers to be dedicated in Bristol honoring prominent local African Americans


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Two historic markers will be placed in Bristol, Virginia in honor of distinguished African Americans with roots in the city.

One marker will be in honor of Charles Spurgeon Johnson, a trailblazer in race relations and the first African American President of Fisk University in Nashville. The other marker will be in dedication of his father, Reverend Charles Henry Johnson, in the name of the church he led for over 4 decades, “Lee Street Baptist.”

Sid Oakley with the Bristol Historical Association told News Channel 11 there’s a limit on how many markers are approved annually and said it’s about time these men were honored. He said these are not only the first markers in the area honoring African Americans, but they’re also the first double dedication in the region to Oakley’s knowledge.

“There have been a lot of prominent, successful African Americans born and raised in Bristol or who have come here and worked, and it was time that they be recognized,” said Oakley.

The community is invited to the dedication happening Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m., rain or shine, at Cumberland Square Park.

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