Cape Charles Memorial Library is celebrating 100 years of service.

By Ted Shockley


Cape Charles World War I Memorial Plaque

This plaque, dedicated in 1919 and hanging in the Cape Charles Memorial Library, is under scrutiny for segregating war losses.

Trustees of the Cape Charles Memorial Library will discuss the future of a plaque mounted inside that lists the names of World War I casualties but puts African-American soldiers in a different grouping under the title “colored.”

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, at the library, and is open to the public.

Minutes show Trustee Nancy Vest asked in March that a discussion be held on the “appropriateness” of the plaque, which has been displayed inside the various library locations since its dedication in 1919.

The issue is similar to others around the state and country in which monuments erected generations ago have been deemed insensitive by some.

Vest declined comment when contacted by phone.

A plaque commemorating Northampton County war losses, dedicated in 1984 and mounted on the front of a former Eastville courthouse, does not segregate soldiers based on colors.

An undated plaque on Accomack’s circuit courthouse lists “colored” casualties of World War I, but a nearby plaque doesn’t segregate losses in subsequent wars.

More African-American soldiers from Northampton County died in World War I died than white soldiers, the plaque shows.