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Roanoke Higher Education Center honors Gainsboro community

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 7:29 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Just like the Roanoke Higher Education Center looks to connect Roanoke citizens to education access, a new pathway connects two important buildings.

The walkway expands the campus, connecting the Roanoke Higher Education center and the Claude Moore Education Complex.

The pathway itself honors the Gainsboro Community.

Before the campus was built, this was the historic Gainsboro neighborhood of Roanoke, a thriving business and entertainment district for African Americans. Markers along the pathway tell this important story, something officials with the center hope students can appreciate.

“We definitely want them to understand that Gainsboro is the beginning of Roanoke and its importance and understand the many important people, places, and events that happened in this Gainsboro community,” explains Carla James with the Roanoke Higher Education Center. “It’s a story that hasn’t been fully told, but the higher education center and other community partners, we are collaborating to make sure the story is told so that younger people can understand just how historic this area is.”

The markers tell stories of events from 1835 to 1970.

There is also a mobile app to compliment these markers called The Gainsboro History Project.

That app gives an interactive history and walking tour of the African American influence in Roanoke.

A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday to officially open the walkway. AEP was part of the ceremony, awarding scholarships to five students.

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