~ PVN staff report
LURAY, July 25 — The Page County Public Forum is hosting two guest speakers addressing the topic of “A Page County History of Free and Enslaved Blacks” at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, July 25 at the Luray VFW Hall just east of Luray off Route 211.
Del Price is a resident of Luray, having returned to live near the homeplace where her mother was born and Del spent much of her childhood. Her interest in genealogy was sparked by a conversation with her grandmother in the homeplace kitchen. Del has a long history in community service and presently serves as president of the Social Services Board of Page County. She has also volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) worker for children the Maryland and California foster care systems. She supports initiatives designed to gain community-based perspective. With a background in public policy development, particularly housing and transportation, Del has held positions in local, state and federal agencies in both the executive and legislative branches of government. Del received a B.A. in Journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and was a reporter at the Washington, D.C. bureau of the New York Journal of Commerce. She has also had public affairs training at the Coro Foundation in San Francisco and trained as a mediator through the Virginia judiciary.
A 23-year resident of Virginia, Joyce A. Fluharty has a background in retail management, computer services and a love-term love for genealogy. She has managed the Town of Shenandoah’s Community Computer Center and provided administrative assistance to the Shenandoah Police Department. Her fascination with genealogy has taken her to local courthouses, libraries and genealogical societies across many counties and states and with the advent of newer resources, she began offering genealogy workshops. She has authored two books on the Town of Shenandoah, including “Shenandoah Iron Works 1836-1866”, a history of the early settlement of the Forrer family in Page County and the iron industry they created. She includes information about freedmen residing and working at the nearby furnaces. More recently Joyce served as the arts and entertainment director of a popular local family music concert at Big Gem Park and bec ame the first curator of the Shenandoah Town Museum and Welcome Center from which she retired in March.
Included in promotion material for the event:
“Free blacks were always present in Virginia and played a pivotal role in any consideration of emancipation. Early Virginia’s main schemes for free blacks included colonizing them somewhere else. Under 1 percent of the population at the time of the revolution, free blacks were considered at the bottom of social order. By contrast, in 1850 — whites were 62.9 percent of the population; all blacks, including the enslaved were 37.9 percent. Then came war.”
The event is another in an ongoing series of public forums aimed at educating the community about issues involving the people and culture of the Page Valley.