Linda Strange Dillard made a difference

To the editor:

When I saw the passing of Linda Strange Dillard in the paper (“Linda Strange Dillard: The power behind FAHI,” Aug. 11), it brought back memories of meeting Linda for the first time. We had just moved to our loft apartment in 2005. Linda introduced herself on the sidewalk in the courthouse square. She told me about her dream to preserve the heritage of the black community in Martinsville and Henry County. She invited us to join FAHI (Fayette Area Historical Initiative). Her enthusiasm was contagious. She knew that the African-Americans in this community had a lot of which to be proud. We enjoyed their meetings, their exhibits and some of the June German Balls.

I assume she was the one who applied for the grants from The Harvest Foundation and the Public Welfare Foundation to provide funds to contract with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. VFH hired a project historian, Jeanne Nicholson Siler, and an editor, Christina Draper, to create a publication, “Fayette Street: A Hundred-Year History of African American Life in Martinsville, Virginia.” It was a 2-year project. If you have not read the book, it is probably available at the FAHI Museum at 211 Fayette St. If not, there are a few copies for sale at the Heritage Center & Museum Gift Shop at 1 E. Main St.

I was heartbroken when I learned of Linda’s accident. It was a tremendous loss to the community. May she now rest in peace. FAHI members have continued to preserve her dream. I am sure donations to FAHI in Linda’s memory would be very much appreciated.



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