Dominion Resources, Library of Virginia honor great Virginia African-Americans

dominion virginia powerDominion Resources and the Library of Virginia commemorated the leadership and accomplishments of eight outstanding African Americans during the fourth annual “Strong Men & Women in Virginia History” awards program on Wednesday at the Richmond Marriott.

The program honors prominent African Americans, past and present, who have made significant contributions to the commonwealth.

“It is always an honor to celebrate the accomplishments of these extraordinary individuals during Black History Month,” saidDaniel A. Weekley, vice president of Corporate Affairs-Dominion. “Be it through government, education, activism, sports or the arts, these men and women have helped shape and improve our communities while enriching the lives of many.” Dominion Resources is the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power and sponsor of the annual series.

“Each year, the men and women honored through the Strong Men and Women program bear witness to the amazing accomplishments and contributions of African-American Virginians throughout our history and up to the present day,” added Dr.Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. “The Library of Virginia is proud to be a partner in this valuable program, which serves as an inspiration to us all.”

The following honorees were recognized:

  • Melody C. Barnes – former domestic policy advisor, President Barack Obama administration, Richmond
  • Thomas Cannon, Sr.* – humanitarian and philanthropist, Richmond
  • Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr. – attorney and civil rights activist, Roanoke
  • The Honorable Leroy R. Hassell, Sr.* first African-American chief justice, Virginia Supreme Court, Norfolk
  • The Honorable Mamie E. Locke first African-American mayor, Hampton, Virginia senator and educator, Hampton
  • Claude G. Perkins, Ph.D. president – Virginia Union University, Richmond
  • Michael Robinson retired professional football player and youth mentor, Henrico
  • Anne Bethel Spencer* American poet and civil rights leader, Lynchburg
    *Posthumous honor

Four high school students also were recognized during the ceremony. Each wrote winning essays, selected from more than 200 entries, about the importance of helping others.

The winners of the 2016 “Strong Men & Women in Virginia History” student essay writing contest are:

  • Samuel Adu-Gyamfi – Highland Springs High School, Henrico County
  • Sohilia Elziny – Woodside High School, Newport News
  • Savannah Frye – Westfield High School, Fairfax County
  • Katy Richardson – Gate City High School, Scott County

Each student received an Apple iPad Air and $1,000 for their school. Winning essays and program details, as well as photos and videos of the event will be posted on For B-roll of students reading their winning essays, go to

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