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Celebrating Black History Month: Community Connections

The Harrison Museum of African American Culture

The Harrison Museum of African American Culture

The Harrison Museum of African American Cultures, Inc. (HMAAC) is a cultural and educational institution committed to advocating, showcasing, preserving, and celebrating the art and history of African Americans for Roanoke Valley Citizens and visitors. Our purpose is to cultivate awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of people of African descent.

Hidden in Plain Sight Roanoke

Hidden in Plain Sight Roanoke

Hosted by the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Hidden in Plain Site Roanoke is a virtual tour experience that focuses on overlooked sites that tell the story of Black history and the black experience in Roanoke. The tour is designed to inform and educate while changing how residents and visitors see and experience the City of Roanoke.

The Hutton Life Saving Crew

The Gainsboro History Project

The Gainesboro History Project

An interactive history and walking tour of African American influence in Roanoke, Virginia's historic Gainsboro neighborhood

Medicine in Gainsboro

The importance of Gainsboro as a medical center is marked by the many physicians, dentists, and nurses who spent their lives caring for members of Ronaoke's African American community at a time when health care was segregated.

Burrell Memorial Hospital

Burrell Memorial Hospital was the only hospital for African Americans in the Roanoke area at a time when health care was segregated. The hospital was initially conceived by a group of African American Gainsboro physicians.

Founding Doctors of Burrell Memorial Hospital

The founding physicians of Burrell Memorial Hospital were Dr. John B. Claytor Sr.Dr. Lylburn C. DowningDr. James Henry Roberts, Dr. Shadrach F. Williman, Dr. Jerry S. Cooper, and Dr. Isaac D. Burrell.

Burrell Pharmacy

Founded in 1893, the Burrell Pharmacy was the earliest Black-owned pharmacy in Southwest Virginia and remained one of the most prominent Black drug stores in the state until its closure in 1917 or 1918.

Claytor Memorial Clinic

The Claytor Memorial Clinic was opened in November of 1948 at 413 Gainsboro Road NW. 

School of Practical Nursing

The Burrell Memorial Hospital-Lucy Addison High School of Practical Nursing was founded in 1958 as a collaborative program of the hospital and Roanoke Public Schools.


Essential to the work of the physicians at Burrell Memorial Hospital were the vast number of nurses who were employed and educated there throughout its operation.

Magic City Medical Society

The Magic City Medical Society was an organization of Roanoke's leading Black physicians, pharmacists, and dentists.

Doctors and Nurses

Great medical professionals in Gainsboro led to several "firsts" in healthcare for African Americans

Map of Historic Gainsboro

Interactive map of Historic Gainsboro including medical buildings