Hayden marker (copy) (copy)

This historical marker was unveiled in January that now stands at Widewater State Park in Stafford County. Gov. Northam launched a contest requesting submissions for markers like this one that honor Virginia’s African American heritage as part of Black History Month.

The state is seeking ideas from students for new markers honoring Virginia’s African | American history. Gov. Ralph Northam recently launched the Black History Month Historical Marker Contest, inviting nominations to teach a more inclusive history. More than 2,600 historical roadway markers have been erected in Virginia, including 350 honoring African Americans. Students can visit education.virginia.gov/bhm-marker-contest to nominate more markers acknowledging black history. The deadline for nominations is March 6.

The site also includes a lesson plan and classroom activity guide to help teachers and administrators navigate related discussions thoughtfully and inclusively, according to the governor’s news release announcing the contest. Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Janice Underwood created the lesson plan.

“Since even before the time of slavery, stories of incredible African-Americans have frequently been ignored, even silenced,” she said. “This contest is a great opportunity for students, teachers and families to learn about black history more deeply, and foster a sense of critical consciousness wherein our students contribute ideas in pursuit of remedying the disparities of African American historical markers in Virginia.”

The Department of Historic Resources will submit the top 10 contest submission and the governor’s office will pick the winners.

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