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Keeping history alive

I’ve always been taught that hard works pays off in the end — and this certainly has proven true to the leaders behind the push to get Alexander Hill Baptist Church added to the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR) by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The church — which is considered the grandfather of many others across the county, serving as the first African-American church in Buckingham — is one of 21 historic sites across the state recently added to the register, giving those seeking to preserve the nearly dilapidated building more tools and resources to restore this gem.

I commend Martha Pennington Louis and Charles White — two of Buckingham’s finest citizens — for working so hard to make this dream become a reality.

For years, alongside many others, including members and trustees of the church, have worked exploring ways to preserve its history for generations to come.

Having the church added to the register will help do just that.

The church and the community that surrounds it has a storied past.

Because African Americans weren’t allowed to worship with whites, members of the Alexander Hill community prayed, sang hymns and worshiped under a brush arbor, which consisted of logs for seating under brush, leaves, twigs and sticks, which allowed for protection from the heat of the sun and other elements. Instead of a pulpit, they had a mound of dirt with a makeshift log lectern. Slaves and freemen worshiped there before the first church was constructed on land that would later be deeded to them by their owners, Alexander Moseley, in 1867, resulting in the formation of the historic Alexander Hill community.

There’s no doubt this history must be preserved and passed on from generation to generation.

JORDAN MILES is managing editor of The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Jordan.Miles@FarmvilleHerald.com.