The Disappearance of a Black Neighborhood in Central Virginia

Brown Grove is an area in the town of Ashland, Virginia that is mainly a black community.  Lately, more white families have been moving in. Many of the residents are related in some way, by marriage or blood.  Over the years, families have grown and some of the younger generation has moved away, leaving the older people and the ones that refuse to leave.  Recently, the county of Hanover approved a plan to bring stores and shops to the area, in the Brown Grove community. It started with building a school bus garage, then other businesses like Champion Windows, an RV dealer and recently, Harley Davidson built a new facility in that area.  Bass Pro Shops moved in across Lewistown Road, along with Bojangles, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and several other stores.

I remember traveling that stretch of road between Route 1 and Ashcake road, and looking at the numerous houses  along the way. Children playing outside, riding bikes, having family cookouts during the summer or snowball fights during the winter. At any time you can see someone walking the road,  heading across the bridge to work at the TA truck stop (aka Speed & Brisco), or going to the Shell station for beer and cigarettes.  Sometimes just to get to someone’s house. For the most part, this has been a quiet area.  Except for the occasional uproar, there was no trouble here.  We lived on a dirt road that sometimes the kids would all get together and have go-cart races from one end to the other.  When we had cookouts on that road, there would be cars parked from the house that was having it to the end.  We moved out the community because of the Air Park extension of the runway for the planes.  But, our hearts will always be in that neighborhood.

I know that things have to change in order for the community to grow, but it seems that everything I remember about the neighborhood is disappearing. They are also talking about hotels that are going up, how many is anyone’s guess.  It seems that the black neighborhoods are disappearing all over the U.S.  If there is what they consider to be prime real estate that would be great for a Walmart, Lowes, Target or some other big store, they will do what they can to take it, purchase it and run the occupants out.  Yeah, I’m feeling a little upset about it!  All of this reminds me of the phrase, “You can never go home again.” In some cases, that is very true!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s