Willie L. Shepperson

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MARYLAND, March 13 – Willie L. Shepperson, a native of Meherrin, quietly slipped away from us on Friday, January 27, 2012 in Laurel, MD.

He graduated from Robert Russa Moton High School, Farmville, in 1955. He was one of the petitioners for the case Dorothy E. Davis, et al, Prince Edward County School Board and T.J. McIllwaine, Superintendent, which became one of the five cases considered for the 1954 case Brown v. Board.

He was an avid historian – loving to read books pertaining to history, collecting books about history and was writing a book (unpublished) from his point of view of the history of Prince Edward County as related to the Brown v. Board. He spent most of his adult life (more than 35 years) in various positions in unionized labor with the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

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Mr. Shepperson was well known nationally for his art and his commissioned pyrographic art (burning designs on wood) selected by art collectors of distinction and also for his essays and poetry. He combined pyrography with acrylics, watercolors and oils to create more than 300 images of local, national and historical black men and women.

He was especially proud of his relationship with the Reverend L. Francis Griffin, ex-pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmville and the Reverend Griffin's struggle with the civil rights movement in Prince Edward County. When students staged a second walkout, he assisted Rev. Griffin by feeding the children and anything else that was needed.

Mr. Shepperson strongly believed that those who gave much to the cause should be recognized and honored for their fight. He organized several programs to give plaques to those who had been unrecognized in the Prince Edward County civil rights movement.

He was the third child of Mrs. Katie and Reverend P.H. Shepperson, who preceded him in death. His remains were cremated by the Fleck Funeral Home and Crematory in Laurel, MD.

He is survived by a daughter, LaTanya, sister, Florine of Maryland and a brother, Lornell of Meherrin.

Contributions can be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society.

Local announcement by the E.B. Allen Funeral Home, Farmville.