FAIRMONT, W.Va. – On Wednesday, Fairmont State University hosted a Q&A session called “Straight Talk” on civil rights and diversity, as part of its Black History Month celebrations.
A history of how Marion County played a significant role in the early civil rights movement in the state was presented to those in attendance. Speakers noted many distinguished people of color, one being Alfred Mead, who was one of the first known civil rights cases from 1866 against former Governor Joseph Johnson of Bridgeport, Virginia.
“We did have slaves here. They were bought and sold here, but a freed man could live here and prosper and that is what Alfred Mead did because he was here by 1856 and he still prospered, and he did well, and he worked hard, and was respected, and left a pretty good legacy,” said Dr. Raymond Alvarez, visiting Professor in Healthcare Management.
Many of the streets, bridges and buildings in Fairmont have been named after individuals who have made an impact in the county through civil and human rights, as well as diversity.