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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: February 5, 2024

Danville Transit unveils Black history bus wrap

Bus at High Street

To commemorate Black History Month, the Danville Transit System today unveiled a bus wrap that honors local African American figures, featuring images of 13 notable individuals who live in Danville or have lived in the city.

Unlike the transit system’s previous Black history bus wraps, which honored local, state, and national figures, this wrap features local figures only.

“This bus wrap serves as a moving canvas, adorned with images of these remarkable individuals who have left an indelible mark on Danville, both in their lifetimes and through their enduring legacies,” said Mayor Alonzo Jones at a ceremony today to unveil the wrap. “These individuals have not only shaped our community but have also inspired generations with their resilience, leadership, and unwavering commitment to progress. Each figure encapsulates the spirit of excellence and determination that defines our city. Their stories remind us of the boundless potential that exists within each one of us.”

The bus wrap pays tribute to the following individuals:

  • Carrie Ashe – A respected educator, Ashe worked for 32 years in the Danville Public Schools. She also served on the Danville Community College Board and was appointed to serve several terms on the DCC President’s Advisory Panel on Black Concerns.
  • Norma Brower – A dedicated community advocate, Brower worked as the housing and development specialist in the City of Danville’s Community Development Department. She also served as vice president of the Danville branch of the NAACP before her death in July 2021.
  • Dr. C.B. Claiborne – A Danville native, where he attended John Langston High School, he was a college professor and trailblazing basketball player. Claiborne was the first African American to play for the Duke University men’s basketball team, first joining the varsity squad for the 1966-67 season.
  • Judy Fallen – A devoted advocate in the Camp Grove community, Fallen is employed at the City of Danville Parks and Recreation Department at Camp Grove Recreation Center. At the center, she continues to provide a safe place for youth to learn and grow and has become an honorary family member to many that have come through Camp Grove.
  • C.G. Hairston Sr. – A successful entrepreneur, Hairston started his business endeavors in the used car industry in 1955, and he then obtained two new car franchises, the first in 1966, which was with FIAT of Italy, and another in 1970, Volvo of Sweden. He was one of the first Black Americans to do business with either of these two car companies. He also started Hairston Oil Co. and a chain of gas stations called Hamoco. In 1983, he purchased WDVA-1250 AM and developed a gospel radio format. Hairston died in January 2020.
  • Dr. Zachary Hairston – An esteemed dentist for more than 40 years, Dr. Hairston was honored in 2023 by the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority with the naming of its inaugural scholarship in his honor. He served as chairman of the board for First State Bank and is currently a board member for Movement Bank.
  • Charles Harris – Danville's first black mayor, serving from 1980 to 1984 and a City Council member from 1968 to 1988, Harris had a 36-year tenure at First State Bank in Danville, progressing from teller to vice president and trust officer. Harris died in May 1988.
  • Xelia Hickson – A respected educator, business owner, and community leader, Hickson taught choral music at George Washington High School for 37 years. She was director and a founding member of the Danville Interdenominational Choir. She served on numerous advisory boards and carried out ministerial duties at Vance Street Baptist Church before her death in November 2023. 
  • Shelby Irving – The first female firefighter in Danville, Irving became the first African American chief officer, and is currently the highest-ranking African American officer in the fire department. In 2022, she was honored as the Woman of the Year by the NAACP.
  • Harry Johnson – A legendary basketball coach, Johnson coached the George Washington High School boys’ team for 19 years and led them to a state championship in 1996. Described by many as a father figure, his work in the community and with his players away from the court is unmatched. He passed away in February 2020.
  • Bishop A.R. Linder – A dedicated community advocate who has served in the Danville Ministerial Alliance, Linder is the senior pastor at Mt. Sinai Glorious Church of God, a congregation he has served for the last 53 years.
  • Doris Wilson – A respected educator, Wilson worked as a history teacher at Langston High School and George Washington High School, where she became assistant principal. She loved teaching and built relationships with her students, and despite the initial struggle that integration posed, rarely had problems in her classroom because she respected her students, and they respected her.
  • Kirby Wright – Owner and CEO of Negril Inc., specializing in quality care for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Wright spent 37 years in Pittsylvania County schools as the director of alternative education before joining Danville Community College. He also owns and operates W&W Luxury Limousine Service.

The Transportation Advisory Committee selected the images for the bus wrap, which will be shown on both sides of a transit vehicle. The vehicle with the new Black history bus wrap will be placed on different fixed-route bus runs. This bus can be viewed at Danville’s Transfer Center, which is located at 515 Spring St., during scheduled service breaks at 10 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

In addition, photos and biographical information of the honorees are available for review inside Danville’s Transfer Center and online at www.danvilletransit.com or www.danvilleva.gov/blackhistory

This bus wrap is the third for Danville Transit. The first wrap debuted in 2019 and featured Mayor Ruby Archie; Muhammed Ali, Major General Marcia Anderson, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, President Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, General Colin Powell, Wendell Scott, Harriet Tubman, and Governor Douglas Wilder.

The second wrap appeared in 2021 and featured Ralph Bunche; Bishop Lawrence Campbell Sr. and Gloria Campbell; W.E.B. Du Bois; Terrell, Tremaine, and Trey Edmunds; Fannie Lou Hamer; Rep. John Lewis; Maggie Walker; Booker T. Washington; and Carter Godwin Woodson.

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