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American National Hosts Danville Civil Rights Movement Exhibit and Reception

1/28/2015

For more information, contact:
Jeffrey V. Haley
President & Chief Executive Officer
American National Bank and Trust Company
haleyj@amnb.com; 434.773.2259

FOR RELEASE:                                                                    January 28, 2015

DANVILLE, VA – American National Bank and Trust Company (American National) is pleased to host a historic exhibit of the Danville civil rights movement as well as a corresponding reception featuring two special guest speakers – both during the month of February, Black History Month. Offered as a community service, both events are open to the public at no charge. However, advance registration for the reception is desired.

“I am proud of where Danville is today and excited about our future; however, we must not forget that our hometown’s heritage also is rich with struggle, including the decline of the tobacco industry, the exporting of textile manufacturing and – the focus of my remarks today – the civil rights protests of 1963,” said Jeffrey V. Haley, president and chief executive officer of American National. “Our nation recently honored Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke in Danville four times during the 1960s, and we are approaching February, Black History Month – perfect timing for reflection on such an important topic. I am pleased that the bank can offer a public forum for continued enhancement of multicultural relations in our community.”

The exhibit, titled “The 1963 Danville, Va., Civil Rights Movement:  The Protests, the People, the Stories,” features oral histories of Danville residents who experienced first-hand these events. The exhibit is the brainchild of principal researcher Emma Edmunds, a Halifax (Va.) native, who previously worked as a reporter at the Atlanta Constitution and as a writer and editor at Atlanta Magazine. She received funding for her oral history project from the Elizabeth Stuart James Grant Trust of Danville (for which American National serves as trustee) and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

“The civil rights movement is a topic near and dear to my heart and one on which I have spent numerous years studying, researching and reporting,” said Edmunds, currently a fellow at the Charlottesville-based Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, where she continues research, writing, and programs on the Danville civil rights movement. “I look forward to coming to Danville to share the story behind the stories of the Danville civil rights movement exhibit and hope many residents will attend the Feb. 22 reception in order to participate in this important discussion.”  

The reception will focus on “Danville’s Role in the Civil Rights Movement” and will feature two guest speakers. Edmunds will share remarks regarding her oral history project and the exhibit. In addition, Warrick Scott will speak about his grandfather, the late Danville native Wendell Scott, the first – and to date, only – African-American NASCAR driver to win a premier series race in the midst of the civil rights movement. In honor of his grandfather, Warrick Scott has founded the Wendell Scott Foundation, which strives to mentor and empower youth in the Commonwealth of Virginia by drawing on the historical, motivational and athletic significance of Wendell Scott's Legacy. Warrick will be in attendance at the ceremony for his grandfather’s posthumous induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 30.  

“Sharing the legacy of my grandfather and using it as a platform to generate positive advancement and growth is always a pleasure for me,” said Warrick Scott, executive director of the Wendell Scott Foundation. “I want to personally invite Danville residents to attend American National’s reception on Feb. 22 and to stop in to see the civil rights movement exhibit; it’s an opportunity to reflect on and remember an important part of our community’s history.”

Individuals may view the exhibit from Feb. 2-27 at American National’s 628 Main St. location during banking hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). The reception will be held at the same banking office on Sunday, Feb. 22, from 3-5 p.m. Individuals interested in attending the latter should register by Feb. 18 by emailing comptonc@amnb.com.

About American National
American National Bankshares Inc. is a multi-state bank holding company with total assets of approximately $1.5 billion. Headquartered in Danville, Va., American National is the parent company of American National Bank and Trust Company, a community bank serving Virginia and North Carolina with 27 banking offices and two loan production offices. American National Bank and Trust Company also manages an additional $661 million of trust, investment and brokerage assets in its Trust and Investment Services Division. Additional information about the company and the bank is available on the bank's website at amnb.com. Shares of American National are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "AMNB."

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