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The History of the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia

By Dr. L. Bernard Hairston

The vision of the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, Inc. began in the summer of 2008 when Dr. Pam Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools approached L. Bernard Hairston, Ronnie Price, and Luvelle Brown to explore ways the African-American males' voice could be heard and respected in our school community. Hairston, Price, and Brown identified and invited fifteen community leaders to join them in a group they called, "A Dialogue Among African American Males". James Chatman, Edward Brooks, Allen Saunders, Darius Parker, Fitzgerald Barnes, Ishmail Conway, Ronnie Price, Luvelle Brown, and Bernard Hairston attended the first meeting on July 21, 2008. Ron Price, an Albemarle County School Board Member, saw this as an opportunity to share our experiences as African-American (AA) males to have an impact on the achievement of young African-American males in our schools by doing something about the problem.

This group of men considered the question, "Who or what made the biggest difference for me as young men growing up?" Their responses set the stage for a collective need to mentor the young men and address their achievement gaps. Subsequently, the group agreed to meet monthly to consider how they could create a pathway for success for AA males. Marcus Martin, Bill Harvey, Stanley Trent, Gerald Terrell, and Dallas Dance joined the group for their September 29 meeting to approve their mission statement. They proposed to support an organization of leaders to advocate progressive change in Central Virginia communities in education, health, civics, and economics. Their newly adopted mission was to eliminate the Achievement Gap of African American Males. Marcus Martin suggested researching the work of the 100 Black Men of America organization. On December 15, 2008 the group charged Marcus Martin with drafting a letter of interest to 100 Black Men of America indicating their interest to apply for a charter. 

A first draft of the By-Laws of the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia Interest Group was developed under the leadership of Marcus Martin and Bernard Hairston. By the November 19 meeting, several committees began building the organization's foundation. Two cornerstone projects emerged: The Education Committee of Marcus Martin, Luvelle Brown, Fitzgerald Barnes, William Harvey, and Bernard Hairston proposed a project to recognize scholarly achievement. As a result, an Annual Scholars Recognition Breakfast was approved to recognize AA males in grades 9-12 with a 3.0-grade point average or higher in the nine surrounding school divisions. The inaugural event was held on May 23, 2009 at Alumni Hall on the campus of the University of Virginia. Ronnie Price, Robert Berry, and Bernard Hairston explored ways to enroll more males in Algebra I before completing their middle school years. Their efforts resulted in the creation of M Cubed, Math, Men, and Mission an algebra readiness program for rising 5th, 6th, and 7th graders. The program was field-tested with Albemarle County students who scored 425 or higher on their math Standards of Learning assessment to prepare them for enrollment in upper-level math classes. Thirty-three students were enrolled in the June 2009 initial program held at Burley Middle School. The program was funded through a community good neighbor grant with State Farm Insurance. A partnership was forged with the Office of Community Engagement, Albemarle County Public Schools, State Farm Insurance and the University of Virginia Curry School and the Office for Diversity and Equity. 

On June 10-13, 2009 Marcus Martin and Bernard Hairston represented the organization at the National Conference of the 100 Black Men of American, Inc, held in New York to be interviewed for Charter Consideration. The 100 BMOA represents over 100 chapters in over 30 states with more than 10,000 members. The Dialogue Among African American Males group became the 100 BMOCV Interest Group before receiving its National Charter on July 11, 2009, henceforth named the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, Incorporated.

The elected officers were Dr. L. Bernard Hairston, President, Dr. Marcus Martin, Vice President, Dr. Luvelle Brown, Secretary, Mr. Fitzgerald Barnes, Treasurer, and Dr. Robert Berry, Dr. Billy Cannaday, Rev. Xavier Jackson, and Mr. Edward Brooks as Directors at Large. The Board of Directors appointed Rev. Rickey White to replace Mr. Fitzgerald Barnes as treasurer and Mr. Robert Scott replaced Dr. Luvelle Brown as a secretary during their first term. Mr. Juandiego Wade was appointed to replace Mr. Edward Brooks as membership chairman and Director at Large while Dr. Lincoln Lewis completed the term of Dr. Billy Cannaday.

Submitted on March 29, 2011

Dr. L. Bernard Hairston, Author

History: Education
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