Book Talk and Signing: The Roanoke Valley in the 1950s

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The 1950s saw growth and changes that continue to shape the Roanoke Valley today. Noted local historian Nelson Harris has collected the fascinating stories of this period in his most recent book, The Roanoke Valley in the 1950s. On Thursday, June 13 at 7 pm at the Salem Museum, Harris will give a talk and sign copies of his books. The Roanoke Valley in the 1950s will be available at this event for $50. All proceeds will benefit the Salem Museum.

By searching every edition of the Roanoke Times and the Roanoke Tribune from January 1950 through December 1959, Harris documents the decade in his newest book, The Roanoke Valley in the 1950s. The book features over 700 pages and 300 archival photos, covering events in sports, business, crime, arts, entertainment, religion, civil rights, politics, individual achievements, and healthcare.

Mill Mountain Zoo, the Vinton Dogwood Festival, and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra were all established in the 1950s. Roanoke’s Diamond Jubilee and Salem’s Sesquicentennial were celebrated. College football games were played at Victory Stadium, and high-profile entertainers visited the area. During the same time period, the Korean War claimed the lives of area soldiers; urban renewal left many displaced in northeast Roanoke; and the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its verdict on Brown v. Board of Education. Television was new.

Nelson 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 thirteen books, including The Roanoke Valley in the 1940s, Roanoke Valley: Then and Now, Aviation in Roanoke, and Hidden History of Roanoke.

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Book Talk and Signing: The Roanoke Valley in the 1950s
  • 801 East Main Street
  • Salem, VA 24153
  • to
  • Salem Museum & Historical Society
  • Free