Senator Joe Manchin Visits Historical Landmark

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HARPERS FERRY, W.Va.  Storer College began as a one-room school for freed slaves. On Friday, United States Senator Joe Manchin talked with community members at Harpers Ferry about the college’s history and the legacy that it leaves behind for West Virginia.

During the 1950’s, the college became a safe haven for those escaping persecution under Jim Crow laws. Janet Bowen, a daughter of Storer alumni, remembers how the college helped her parents.

“My mother was the first in her family to go to college,” she said.

In his address, Sen. Manchin also stressed the importance of the students’ freedom to get an education, and what that education could do for them.

“Freedom was one thing, but an education took you to the next level,” he said. “Without an education, it would have been very difficult. And that’s what’s so important –  this was truly an education movement.”

But when the historic 1954 Brown vs.Board of Education case ended school segregation, Storer lost federal funding.

Although this ultimately forced Storer to close its doors, it provided windows of opportunity that will forever remain open.

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