In the 1980s, a historic Black community located at the south limit of Blacksburg fought to prevent the paving of a road on their own land that led right up to their cluster of homes.
Backed by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, developers paved the road anyway, naming it after the nickname of the family’s late matriarch, Nellie, a former slave — though it was no consolation to the family.
That road is Nellie’s Cave Road. In a News Messenger article from 1992, the late Aubrey Mills Sr., a descendant of Nellie, lamented the disruption of their land, once peaceful and secluded.
“We feel like we get no representation in local government and no respect,” he said.
Over two decades later, a local group is still challenging the issue of limited representation for African-Americans in local government, amid heightened conversations of race relations in the United States. On a recent Saturday evening, the group gathered to discuss this problem, among others, in the park named after Nellie and the road her descendants protested.