BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va (WFXR) — An oral history event bought people together in Botetourt County, honoring black history through storytelling at the Botetourt County Historical Museum. Speakers shared stories about prominent figures who have impacted their lives.

The stories told today will be added to the museum as official artifacts. Curtis Brown from the Historic Greenfield Preservation Advisory Council says it’s imperative we remember those who helped shape the community.

“There’s a lot of history locked up here in Botetourt County, and we’re just finally, in the last few years, able to unlock some of it. It’s good to get it out and have it documented in some kind of way,” said Brown.

Brown emphasizes the power of sharing stories. He says events like this help people learn more about themselves.

“We have a lot of families that’s intertwined now, and they know they have a lot of history, and they may be going back so far that they’ve never heard the stories,” said Brown.

Brown added that he hopes the event shines a light on those who helped Botetourt County become what it is today.

“They can see and hear and maybe come to light to them, the people here in Botetourt County,” said Brown.

Event speaker Cheryl Sullivan Willis emphasized the importance of honoring black history every single day.

“It is a history that should be honored, it should be revered, it should be treasured, it should be shared,” said Sullivan Willis.

The community shared stories of loved ones, teachers, athletes, and more — all of whom created a lasting impact on Botetourt County and its people.

One woman in attendance shared the story of her cousin, who broke barriers in Botetourt.

“Georgia Ragsdale Curtis, she was one of the first black educators in Botetourt county,” she said.

All the stories will become artifacts in the museum. Sullivan Willis adds that although great strides have been made, there is still more work to be done to honor black history in the community.

“All of us together, and we can unite the bond, we can build the bridge, we can unite the gap,” said Sullivan Willis.