Celebrating Black History Month in North Central West Virginia

HARRISON & MARION COUNTIES, W. Va. (WDTV) -- Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February. According to the U.S. Census, less than four percent of the population in West Virginia is made of African Americans.

Churches and organizations in the area are working diligently to celebrate and honor the contributions of renowned African Americans.

The Mountain State has great roots as Carter G. Woodson, the father of "Black History" is a Huntington native. Also, Booker T. Washington, who was a major influence in American history, was raised near Charleston.

5 News spoke to James Griffin, the chairman of the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival, who says learning more about Black history and culture is important, especially for the young generation.

"There's some well-rooted things African Americans here in West Virginia. I think we need to portray that. Even though we're only three percent of the population, we still make a valuable contribution to the state," said Griffin.

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Fairmont is planning numerous events with the theme "Our country, our state." The pastor, Reverend Dr. Mark Staples, says he's very excited to show residents the rich culture through meetings, plays, and movies.

"In some things we are going to do, is help our church as well as our community to experience culture. We're going to start with African culture and also bring it up to African American culture to show the richness and the rich contributions," said Staples.

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Fairmont events:

Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25 - Moments in Black History
Feb. 12 - Contributions of Blacks in U.S. Military
Feb. 19 - Evolution of Blacks in major sports
Feb. 25 - Black History Production - "Now Let Me Fly"