VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- There are hundreds of books written about the history of Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach, but hardly any of them include African-American history in this part of our state.
Two women in Virginia Beach decided to change that, leaving their own mark along the way.
Dr. Joanne Lucas has a deep appreciation for African-American history. Her father walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the first march from Selma.
“I love learning about someone else's culture, and I want someone to love to learn about mine,” said Lucas, a retired history teacher.
She and her friend, Edna Hawkins-Hendrix, a Virginia Beach historian, teamed up to write a research paper called History of African-American Communities in Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach.
“Personally, as a black woman, I want to be counted. I want my history to mean something, be relevant,” said Lucas.
The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission said there is hardly anything in city libraries on this topic, and these women are providing a tremendous service.
“It’s a rewarding kind of thing, and it's necessary for our youth, and not just black children, but all children need to know this is a very eclectic area as far as people are concerned. It's very diverse," Lucas told 13News Now.
Lucas said that in the 70-page document she and Hawkins-Hendrix wrote, you’ll read about some of the challenges black people in Virginia Beach had to endure before and after the civil rights movement.
“By 1975 the black communities didn’t have running water. They didn’t have electricity. They had no street lights. They had no sewage systems. They had no sidewalks, and all around them was all this growth,” said Lucas who also explained readers will learn about the accomplishments of her ancestors.
“African Americans brought certain things to this particular area and did some really positive things that some people are just not aware of,” said Lucas.
The research paper is available at the Meyera Oberndorf Central Library and on the city’s website.