The Town of Orange opens commemorative park on Juneteenth
TOWN OF ORANGE, Va. (WVIR) - The Town of Orange has even more to celebrate this Juneteenth. There’s a new park open in the Town of Orange and it’s opening is coinciding with the Juneteenth holiday.
“This took us two years, but people have waited decades, generations, two years is nothing for me,” project manager, Zann Nelson said.
The Orange County African American Historical Society planned a reflective park to honor Black communities in the Town of Orange. It’s been an ongoing project.
“More than 100 years, this was a segregated neighborhood of Black-owned businesses and Black families to historic Black churches and schools,” Nelson said.
Now, Nelson says it looks pretty different. The pieces are finally in place.
“There are no words to describe what it’s like it just hits you right here in the heart, and you become overwhelmed,” project coordinator, Lois Goodall said.
Goodall says the space is something she needed while growing up. She wants it to impact families now.
“We want to make sure that history is there, and that our children and children have something to be proud about, you know, and unless we do this, they won’t have that legacy,” Goodall said.
That legacy is all coming together on Juneteenth this year, which is no coincidence.
“We don’t need another holiday just to celebrate a date that happened 157 years ago, we need a holiday that celebrates a message,” Nelson said.
“They can look back and say I have a legacy. I have things to be proud of. My forefathers did this, my forefathers did that. So it’s going to give them a different outlook, a life and realize that we are somebody that we may be American born but we have African roots,” Goodall said.
The park includes three panels currently, with descriptions on the neighborhoods surrounding it. Nelson says she wants to add more panels to other parts of town and even spread it out to other counties in the commonwealth.
“The beauty of it is it doesn’t end today because the park is here the panels are here and you know, we encourage people to come,” Nelson said.
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