The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

July 3, 2013

Fayette County Wall of Honor

(Continued)

J. Alfred Taylor

J. Alfred Taylor was a politician and a publisher. In 1916, he was elected to the House of Delegates and eventually became Speaker of the House. He was the first speaker to serve in the newly-built Capitol building in Charleston. In 1922, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of West Virginia and also served on the Fayette County Board of Education. He published his newspaper “The State Sentinel” in Fayetteville.

Nell Elizabeth Walker

She earned two nicknames in her eventful life. One name is the “First Lady of Fayette County” after she served 12 terms in the House of Delegates. In 1956, she became the State Banking Commissioner. While she worked as vice president and cashier at the Winona National Bank, she earned her other nickname “Pistol Nell.” The bank was robbed three times, and during one hold-up, she managed to smuggle a pistol to a bank official who shot and wounded the robber. She also served as a Red Cross ambulance driver in France during World War I.

Lonnie Warwick

Mount Hope native Lonnie Warwick played 10 seasons for the National Football League; the linebacker played for the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons. He started in Super Bowl IV.

Carter G. Woodson

Historian, scholar and teacher, Carter G. Woodson would continue his quest for knowledge and ultimately become the father of black history. The Woodson family first moved to West Virginia after Woodson’s father learned that a high school for black students was to be built in Huntington. Woodson worked tirelessly to educate himself, and he moved to Fayette County where he found work as a coal miner. But he always set aside time to pursue education, and he taught in Winona. He was eventually awarded a doctorate from Harvard University, making him the second black person to do so after W.E.B. DuBois. But he was the first person whose parents were slaves to receive a doctorate from Harvard. He was the founder of the “Journal of Negro History” and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. As his studies continued, he realized the history of African Americans was too often overlooked or misinterpreted. He set out to preserve African American history, and he was successful in having African American history celebrated in the month of February, the birthday month for both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. When he died, Woodson was still working on his six-volume Encyclopedia Africana.

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