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Mathews NAACP celebrates Black History Month Saturday at Cobbs Creek Arts Center

In the final weekend of Black History Month, the Mathews Branch of the NAACP held a celebration, featuring guest speakers Allison Thomas and Elsie Williams, descendants of Gwynn’s Island residents; keynote speaker S.A. “Shawn” Cosby, Mathews native and bestselling author; and the Emmaus Male Chorus of Emmaus Baptist Church.

Kamilah Turner, daughter of NAACP president Edith Turner, served as mistress of ceremonies for Saturday’s program, which was held at the Cobbs Creek Arts Center.

Allison Thomas

Thomas spoke of learning in 2016 that her family tree overlapped with that of Maria Montgomery, a Norfolk resident whose great-great-grandparents were enslaved by Thomas’s third great-grandmother, Mary T. Edwards, a Gwynn’s Island resident. Subsequently, the two discovered that the entire Black community of Gwynn’s Island had been driven off the island, and that “it was covered up by the White community.”

Montgomery was invited to attend Saturday’s ceremony, but didn’t come becau...

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