Martinsville, Virginia


Black History Month Exhibits in Martinsville-Henry County

By: VisitMartinsville

January 31, 2024


Each February, communities around the nation celebrate Black History Month. Martinsville-Henry County is home to both permanent exhibits and special events during the month. From the local African-American history museum FAHI, to the Fayette Street Historic District, there are numerous opportunities to submerge yourself in African-American culture in the area. Below are both permanent exhibits and special events that provide an educational experience!

Celebrate the History


The Fayette Area Historical Initiative, FAHI, is Martinsville - Henry County’s African - American history museum located in Uptown Martinsville. FAHI was created to collect, preserve, and interpret African American experiences and community life in Martinsville - Henry County. This is achieved with the use of displays and exhibits to highlight history and culture. (Call ahead - by appointment only) 

The Baldwin Block Canvases, displayed outside the Baldwin Building (New College Institute), depict a streetscape view of buildings and places significant to the history of this location on Fayette Street and the culture, including the Baldwin Pharmacy, Jobbers Pants Co., and Saint Mary’s Hospital among others.

The Bassett Historical Center currently houses over 35,000 genealogy books, manuscripts, genealogy family files, local history files, family photograph files, and periodicals. Within their massive collection you can find Henry County’s Cohabitation List and the book Afro-American Marriages of Henry County, Virginia, by Harris and Millner. (Call ahead - by appointment only)

The June German Ball Mural depicts a fictional scene from one of Martinsville's famed June German Balls, which were popular within the African American community in the early part of the 20th century. These balls were held yearly, in the heat of June, and featured celebrated entertainers from the Jazz age like Jimmie Lunceford & His Dance Orchestra, who performed at the event in 1938.

There are quite a few historical markers throughout Martinsville and Henry, VA, highlighting Black History in the area. Though some of these markers showcase bleaker times in that history, they serve as a reminder of the people and places that left an indelible mark in the foundation of this area.