The contributions African-Americans made to Roanoke's rich railroad history are equally as rich. This weekend you can take a trip back in time to explore those contributions. It’s all part of the 14th annual African-American Norfolk and Western Heritage Celebration. The purpose of the event is to preserve history.

We spoke with John Nutter, who is involved in the program and has worked for Norfolk Southern for years. “Since the first tie was laid and the first rail was dropped into place, African-Americans and other minorities have been there to make this the success story that it is,”  he said.

And that's why the African-American Norfolk and Western Heritage Celebration Group and Rails of Color both take time to preserve Roanoke's railroad history.

Dyke Wood also works for the railroad and spoke about the history of the railroad. “They just had certain positions they were willing to offer  them and that's what they had to take because they wanted to have a way to keep a roof over their head,” he said.

 

THE FOLLWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FRO M THE  VA MUSEUM OF TRANSPORTATION:

 

The 14th Annual African-American Railroad Heritage Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 16 at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

The Celebration will honor the heritage and contributions of African-Americans to the railroad and to the community.

 

(Roanoke VA) - The 14th Annual African-American N&W Heritage Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2012 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. This annual event celebrates the significant and lasting impact that African-Americans have made to the railroad and to the community.

 

Special daytime activities at the Museum on June 16:

             Museum visitors will enjoy a special opportunity to try their hand at a locomotive training simulator at the Museum. The simulator will be open for tours given by NS locomotive engineers from 10 am to 3 pm.

             NS Archivist Jennifer McDaid will be on hand with a display of N&W and NS history.

             Norfolk Southern employees with ID and their immediate families will be admitted free for the day. Regular admission applies to general Museum visitors. The Museum will be open 10 am to 5 pm.

 

Heritage Celebration Program, 6:30-8:30 pm:

             The evening program features Mr. Terry N. Evans, Vice President of Operations, Planning and Budget for Norfolk Southern Corporation, who will talk about African-Americans' contributions to railroads past and present and throughout the life of the community.

             Music will be provided by the Loudon Avenue Christian Church Male Chorus.