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Leesburg plans tribute to Loudoun’s African American Civil War veterans

A number of local groups on Sept. 6 will pay tribute to Loudoun's African American Civil War veterans. The event is coordinated by the Loudoun County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library and the Mount Zion Cemetery Committee.
The 2 p.m. event will be at the Senior Center of Leesburg, 102 North Street NW.

The program will include a performance by a combined community choir comprised of members from the Mount Zion United Methodist Church, the First Mount Olive Baptist Church and the Providence Baptist Church. Following the performance, Master of Ceremonies Maj. Gen. (retired) Robert Nabors will introduce keynote speaker, author Kevin Grigsby. In his book “From Loudoun to Glory, Grigsby documented the service of nearly 300 African Americans from Loudoun County who served in the Union Army and Navy.

The program will shift to the Mount Zion Community Cemetery, 201 Old Waterford Road NW, Leesburg. Members of the three sponsoring organizations will dedicate a new Virginia Civil War Trails sign that highlights the service of four Civil War veterans buried at the cemetery. The ceremony will include the laying of wreaths on the veterans’ headstones, a rifle salute and the playing of taps by local buglers. An honor guard comprised of Civil War re-enactors of the 54th Massachusetts and 23rd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiments, and the local VFW Post No. 1177 will provide the rifle salute.

During the ceremony, Old Waterford Road will be closed to traffic, from Gibson Street to North Street.

Earlier this year, Knight Solutions, a Leesburg-based minority and disabled veteran owned construction company that specializes in cemetery renovation, volunteered its services to clean the four veterans’ headstones. Before and after photos of one of the headstones are on the town of Leesburg website at http://www.leesburg.gov.


One of the soldiers, Mr. Gaskins, was a former resident of Conklin (part of present-day South Riding).  His story and that of many other Conklin residents is being developed on http://conklinproject.wordpress.com/ in Cooperation with the Prosperity Baptist Church of Conklin.

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