2015 Strong Men and Women honorees
The 2015 Strong Men and Women in Virginia History honorees include trailblazers and achievers in the Armed Forces, education, music, sports and science.
The annual program, sponsored by Dominion Resources and the Library of Virginia, celebrates the outstanding achievements of African-American men and women who have persevered to become leaders in their communities and the world, often breaking new ground along the way.
Four of this year’s eight honorees held positions and received recognition that African- Americans never held before.
They will be honored at a 7 p.m. event on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at a downtown hotel.
• Retired Brig. Gen. Sheila R. Baxter of Frank- lin, the first African-American female brigadier general in the Army Medical Service Corps.
• James “Plunky” Branch of Richmond, per- former, songwriter, music and film producer.
• Dr. Beth Anne Brown of Roanoke, astrophysicist.
• Sgt. William Harvey Carney of Norfolk, the first African-American Medal of Honor recipient for his service in the Civil War.
• Lott Carey of Charles City County, prominent American missionary to Africa.
• Earl Francis Lloyd of Alexandria, first African-American player in the National Basketball Association.
• Alonzo Harding “Zo” Mourning Jr. of Chesapeake, retired professional basketball player and philanthropist.
• Dr. Jamelle Smith Wilson of Hanover County, the first female and African-American superintendent of Hanover County Public Schools.
An essay contest for high school students is held as part of the program. Each of the four winners receives an iPad Air and $1,000 for their schools.
The student essay contest winners for 2015 include:
• Paige Lambert of Hanover High School, Hanover County,
•VanessaAdkinsofCharlesCityHighSchool, Charles City County,
• Angela Gyane of Senior High School, Prince William County and
• Eric Xu of Western Albemarle High School, Albemarle County.