The Library of Virginia, in collaboration with Dominion, presents the 2017 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History. This program highlights eight African American leaders and their achievements.

For information on past honorees (Trailblazers and Strong Men & Women), use the following links: African American Trailblazers and Strong Men & Women: Excellence in Leadership series. Visit our research guide for digital resources on African American History sites.

William E. BaileyWilliam E. Bailey
(1940–)
Accomack County
Aviation Pioneer and Philanthropist
After a decorated career as a military and commercial pilot, William E. Bailey continues to work for increased diversity in the aviation profession and to expand educational opportunities for African Americans.

Charles Spurgeon JohnsonCharles Spurgeon Johnson
(1893–1956)
Bristol
Sociologist and College President
Charles Spurgeon Johnson battled racism early in the twentieth century as a preeminent sociologist, author, educator, and college president.

Benjamin Joseph LambertBenjamin Joseph Lambert III
(1937–2014)
Optometrist and Legislator
Richmond
As a longtime community leader in Richmond, Benjamin Lambert practiced optometry in Jackson Ward and served in the Virginia General Assembly.

Mary Janipher Bennett MalveauxMary Janipher Bennett Malveaux
(1967–)
Judge of the Virginia Court of Appeals
Henrico County
Mary Janipher Bennett Malveaux is the first African-American woman to serve as a judge of Henrico County’s General District Court and the second to sit on Virginia’s Court of Appeals.

Leonard MuseLeonard Muse
(1923–)
Pharmacist
Arlington County
For more than 60 years, pharmacist Leonard Muse has been a community leader in the historically African-American neighborhood of Nauck in Arlington County.

Stephanie Therese Rochon–MotenStephanie Therese Rochon–Moten
(1965–2015)
Television News Anchor and Cancer Treatment Advocate
Richmond
News anchor Stephanie Rochon raised breast cancer awareness through her award-winning “Buddy Check 6” news segments.

Margaret Ellen Mayo TolbertMargaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert
(1943–)
Scientist
Suffolk
Throughout her pioneering career in science, Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert has encouraged and inspired women and minorities to choose careers in math and science.