The 1940s were tumultuous and life-changing, full of joys and sorrows, uncertainty and hope. Noted local historian Nelson Harris has collected stories of events from this fascinating decade in his most recent book, “The Roanoke Valley in the 1940s.”
On Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m., Harris will give a book talk as part of the Salem Museum’s Speaker Series. Sign copies of his books will be available for purchase. The event is in-person at the Salem Museum and will also be on Zoom. The link will be posted on the museum’s website, salemmuseum.org, on the morning of the talk.
In a six-year effort, Harris has meticulously documented the history of the Roanoke Valley from 1940-1949. By searching every edition of “The Roanoke Times” between Jan. 1, 1940 and January 1, 1950, Harris gleaned all things noteworthy for the decade—in sports, business, religion, entertainment, civil rights, politics, municipal projects, disasters, crime and medicine—plus an assortment of the odd and unusual.
The 650-page book is thoroughly indexed and enhanced with 300 archival photographs from the collections of local museums, colleges, municipalities, organizations and individuals. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Salem Museum.
Harris is a native and former mayor of Roanoke. He has been the pastor of Heights Community Church since 1999 and is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Western Community College. He holds degrees from Radford University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a past president of the Historical Society of Western Virginia and is the author of twelve books, including “Downtown Roanoke,” “Roanoke Valley: Then and Now,” “A History of Back Creek,” “Aviation in Roanoke,” and “Hidden History of Roanoke.”
-The Salem Times-Register