Roanoke's black neighborhoods, institutions honored at Black History Month program

Total Action for Progress recognized 'hidden jewels'

ROANOKE, Va.- – Total Action for Progress of Roanoke honors "hidden jewels" during its Black History Month program. 

This year, the nonprofit is highlighting four black neighborhoods and institutions that helped the region to become the success that it is today.

Lessie Jones Polk, of the Old Northeast community, is 102 years old. She was the first African-American president of the Democratic Women of the Roanoke Valley and president of the Garden Clubs of Virginia, among holding other titles. TAP leaders say these heroes like Polk aren't always in the history books. 

"It's important for us at TAP because we have students in our GED program young people and some of those who never learned about the contributions. But its most important the contributions were made right here in this community," said Annette Lewis, president and CEO.

Others honored were Dr. Isaac Burrell and Dr. James Roberts, of Burrell Memorial Hospital, Major Hill, of the Pinkard Court community and Nettie Johnson, of the Oldfields community.