December 9, 2008
The life of Thomas Roswell Mayfield was celebrated on December 6 with the presentation of House Joint Resolution No. 423 by Delegates Watkins M. Abbitt, Jr. and Clarke N. Hogan to Ms. Atheldra Smith, niece of Thomas Mayfield. Addressing a full auditorium of Mayfield supporters, Master of Ceremonies, Carl U. Eggleston, praised the event as something Mayfield would not have expected, but an event well deserved.
Known for his deep voice, sense of humor, visionary outlook and devotion to education, Thomas Mayfield was active in 16 different civic organizations and held as many as 12 positions in the education field. Best known, however, was his commitment to civil rights. As stated in the resolution, “the crown of his achievements is the Robert Russa Moton Museum: A Center for the Study of Civil Rights in Education, an historic and educational resource to the Commonwealth and nation: …”
Prince Edward County Board Chair, William Fore said, “…I challenge each of you to embrace the legacy of Thomas Roswell Mayfield and shine your light of reconciliation toward all people and become a part of the new future of Prince Edward County.”
When presenting the resolution, Delegate Watkins M. Abbitt commented “that it was an honor for both he and Clarke Hogan to sponsor the resolution for Thomas Mayfield, a man that had given so much of himself for the betterment of those around him and the community.”
Long time friend, Lt. Gen. Samuel V. Wilson, spoke about a recent meeting at Jamestown Presbyterian Church between two local churches. Lt. Gen.Wilson continued, “one black and one white. Both churches made a covenant to wipe out the racial barrier that for so long had divided the neighborhood and committed themselves to worshiping together on a regular basis. Though not a member of either congregation, Thomas Mayfield saw what was happening, grasped its significance and became a quietly supportive participant.”
Lt. Gen Wilson continued, “Ending that meeting at Jamestown Church, Mayfield said ‘It is not enough just for us to come together here in peace and harmony as children of God, brothers and sisters in faith. We here must set an example for others like us to follow. We have to seek the ripple effect. Only then can we influence our entire multi-racial society. That is what makes what we do here so important.’ ”
Seventeen additional friends and colleagues delivered brief accolades on the legacy left behind by Thomas Mayfield in an event that recognized one of Prince Edward County’s most committed citizens.
Image Above, Program Participants;
Front Row: Susan Smith, Rev. James P. Ashton, James Young, Dr. Martha E. Cook, Lt. Gen. Samuel V. Wilson, William F. Fore, Beatrice Kennedy, James Ghee
Back Row: Carl U. Eggleston, Rita Moseley, Rev. Everett Berryman, Jr., Atheldra Smith, Delegate Clarke N. Hogan, Delegate Watkins M. Abbitt, Jr., Robert Hamlin, Erenest E. Miller, Lacy Ward Jr.