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Black History Month

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Tracy Richardson

By The Staff

Childhood – When I say that I was born in Goode, VA, I mean that literally.  I was born across the railroad tracks in my grandmother’s house in February, 1970.    My mother, Verna Bryant, was an unwed high school senior.  She moved away to Philadelphia to work at the post office when I was eight months old.  I stayed under the watchful care and guidance of my grandmother, Susan Williams.

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    Education - I began kindergarten in 1975 at Forest Elementary when it was underneath the high school.  Being placed in the Gifted and Talented program was the first real difference in my education because then the expectations for me changed.  The next real impact was when my uncle, Roy Bryant, offered me $1 for every A on my report card.  For someone in a household with limited income, I strived very hard to get that $6 every six weeks.  I graduated from Jefferson Forest in 1988 and was accepted early admission to Virginia Tech.  I entered Tech as an Accounting major because I was told “accountants made a lot of money”.    I took an African American history class as an elective and it changed my life.

    I was three years into my course work at Virginia Tech when I took this class so I finished in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Science with a Business major and History and English minors.  I enrolled in classes again almost instantly and got a bachelor’s degree in History.  In 1997, I completed my master’s degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) and started teaching government and English 9 at William Fleming High School in Roanoke.  To alleviate the 104 mile daily drive, I transferred to E.C. Glass two years later and taught World History and Government for three years.  While teaching at Glass, I graduated from Lynchburg College with a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.  I was hired as an assistant principal at Amherst High School in 2002 and transferred to Jefferson Forest a year and a half later.

    I have a diverse background.  My grandmother’s parents were African American.  My grandfather’s mother was a Monacan Indian and his father was a white confederate solider who fought and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.  In Virginia, much of my family had a limited access to education only a few generations ago so I feel that it is my responsibility to go as far as I can go.  I am currently enrolled at Virginia Tech and I am working on my Doctorate in Educational Leadership.  My goal was to be Dr. Richardson by the time I am 40.  I won’t quite make it but it will be close.  Once I attain that goal, I will set another one for myself.

    I am fascinated by the fact that my mother is only 18 years older than I am and never went to an integrated school.  She attended Otter River when it was segregated and then was the secretary of the last graduating class of Susie Gibson.  I plan to do a case study of Susie Gibson High School for my dissertation.  I want to be able to compare her educational experiences to my own.

    Family – I married my college sweetheart, Alex Richardson, in 1993 and we have two daughters, Alexandra (13 years old) and Alannah (11 years old).  Alex supports me in every way and my daughters are a source of motivation.  I am very proud of all of my family.  In honor of my grandmother’s memory, we take trips together as a group the week of her birthday.  We have chartered a bus with over 50 people and gone to Orlando, Atlanta, Richmond and Niagara Falls.  I have also helped organized the Bryant Family: Home for the Holidays event at Thanksgiving in which over 150 family members attended on two different Thanksgiving weekends.

    I stand on the shoulders of many; especially my grandmother, aunts and uncles.  They did a lot for me so I am learning how to pay it forward.  God is allowing me to grow in many different ways so I hope that my light will be bright one day.

    During Black History Month  the Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library continues to honor those that are making history today. Tracy Richardson is an assistant principal at Jefferson Forest High School. Normally we would take the facts given to us and write an article but this was so well written by Tracy, I am presenting it as submitted. When you see anyone from Tracy’s family, thank them for their contribution to Bedford and black history.”- Doug Cooper, Museum Manager