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Author#8217;s roots in Suffolk

Annette Montgomery has always loved Suffolk’s history.

This year, the Norfolk State University archivist turned her fascination with her hometown’s past into a pictorial history, “Black America Series: Suffolk.”

Published by Arcadia Publications, the book provides readers a glimpse into the lives of black residents who lived in Suffolk and the former Nansemond County from the Civil War until the 1960s.

In preparing the book, Montgomery dug through pictures on file in the Library of Virginia, read old newspaper archives and called on local residents to share their family pictures.

Readers will see pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 visit to Suffolk, where he spoke before a crowd of 7,500 in Peanut Park.

Images of the Fairgrounds, the once vibrant black business district, show a community rich with entrepreneurs, such as Wimpy’s Confectionary, the Silver Slipper Restaurant and the Phoenix Bank of Nansemond.

Other photographs depict memorable moments in individual’s lives n weddings, the annual wrapping of the May Pole at Booker T. Washington School, the emotions in the faces of the first students who integrated into Suffolk Public Schools in 1964.

The book is a slice of Suffolk’s history, Montgomery said.

“This is something I really wanted to do,” said Montgomery. “I particularly enjoyed meeting so many people I had only heard about before.”

Montgomery will be signing copies of her book at the Suffolk Railroad Museum and Train Station from 1-3 p.m. Sunday.