Panel discusses Black history, race and racism in Roanoke

Walking tours cover the evolution of the black community and racism in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – Race, racism and its history in Roanoke were topics that a special panel of local experts explored on Monday.

The panel kicked off a month-long educational program to teach people about the history of the African American community in Roanoke, which has deep roots in Gainsboro.

The panel was hosted by the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.

Speakers included historians, professors, social workers and former city employees. They talked about the changes they’ve seen over the years and the impact that change has had on the Black community, like segregation and urban renewal.

The idea for the panel started after the schools asked students what changes they’d like to see when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and they chose mental and physical health.

That’s why the schools are offering 5K walking tours of Roanoke that will hit ten locations to delve into Roanoke’s African American history and talk about how to spark change. You can go on a tour by yourself or in a small group, led by some panelists.

“We need to ask the question: is it me? Am I helping or hindering the change, whatever that change might be?" said panelist Stephanie Moon Reynolds.

The tours start Sept. 14 and and run through October 15. To learn more or register, click here.

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You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!

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