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Opening of the exhibition on African-American history for Juneteenth

BEVERLY, W.Va. — This Juneteenth, the Beverly Heritage Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its history exhibit that focuses on African Americans in Randolph County.

Kathy Lynne Marshall, the descendant of a woman named Margaret Booker who was enslaved in Beverly, was asked to cut the ribbon at the ceremony. Marshall learned of his relative’s existence in 1983 from his family’s historian.

“Well, how is it possible, she lived in Beverly, she was enslaved in Beverly, but she took her five children in the middle of the fighting in the Civil War. I had to know more,” said Marshall, author of The Mysteries of Margaret Booker.

Marshall learned more about her family when she saw a streaming presentation by the Beverly Heritage Center.

“And I happened to see one where he put a woman named Margaret on a slide in his presentation, and that’s the name of my great great great grandmother Margaret Booker. And that’s her, it’s the bill of sale, it’s who its owners were,” Marshall said.

Marshall flew in from California for the opening of the African-American History exhibit. The executive director of the Beverly Heritage Center said the interpretive panels are filled with oral histories from people who have been to the area.

“In the case of Miss Marshall, whose ancestors lived in Randolph County, so we include direct quotes from them in this exhibit so people can connect with them. Above all, we wanted it to show the agency of African Americans in this community, and to be a chance for their voices to be heard,” said Christopher Mielke, executive director of the Beverly Heritage Center.

Many artifacts are featured in the exhibit, one of which is an 1853 “Slave Price List” with 8 people listed from 1 to 60 years old.

The page is dated May 1853. Titled “Valuation in Division of Blacks” (WBOY Image)

Admission to the new exhibit was only free on opening day. Admission is $5 for anyone 13 or older. Entrance fees collected through the exhibition will finance the necessary restorations to the heritage centre. The Randolph County African-American History Exhibit at the Beverly Heritage Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, and will be closed Monday.

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