HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 41
(By Delegates Upson, Cowles, Espinoa, Howell, Kessinger, Moore, O’Neal, Overington, Wagner, Westfall and Wilson)
[Introduced March 2, 2017]
Requesting the Division of Highways to name the bridge on West Virginia Route 9 over the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County, near Millville, latitude 39.2728592, longitude - 77.7843137, the "Major Martin Robison Delany Memorial Bridge."
Whereas, Martin Robison Delany was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), in 1812. He was the son of Samuel Delany (an enslaved carpenter) and Pati Delany (a free woman of color). In 1822, it was discovered that his mother was teaching him to read and write, breaking a Virginia law that prohibited Blacks from learning to read and write. The family escaped to Chambersburg, PA, to avoid punishment; and
Whereas, When Delany turned 19, he moved to Pittsburgh where he became an apprentice for various abolitionist doctors throughout the city. In 1843, Delany founded and began to write for the Mystery, a Black-controlled newspaper. In 1847, Delany met Frederick Douglass and together with William Lloyd Garrison created the North Star, one of the most influential newspapers advocating emancipation; and
Whereas, In 1863, after President Lincoln instituted the draft for the Civil War, Delany traveled all over the country to recruit Black men to enlist in the army. In 1865, Delany convinced President Lincoln to create a corps of Black men in the army that would be led by Black officers. As a result of this meeting, President Lincoln sent a letter to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton stating, “Do not fail to meet this most extraordinary and intelligent Black man.” Delany was commissioned as a major a few weeks later, becoming the first Black line field officer and the highest rank that a Black man would achieve during the Civil War; and
Whereas, In 1936, W.E.B. Dubois, wrote: “His was a magnificent life, and yet, how many of us have heard of him”; and
Whereas, More than one noted historian has said Martin Delany lived several lifetimes rolled into one. His fertile mind and principled conscience to which he felt beholden led him across three continents and countless experiences and challenges; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to name the bridge on West Virginia Route 9 over the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County, near Millville, bridge number, latitude 39.2728592, longitude -77.7843137, the " Major Martin Robison Delany Memorial Bridge"; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Division of Highways is requested to have made and be placed signs identifying the bridge as the “Major Martin Robison Delany Memorial Bridge"; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.