OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – The Ohio County Public Libray has just opened a new exhibit titled “Civic Empathy Through History.”

The library chose to highlight a typewritten speech from 1936 that comes from the YWCA Collection that was written by a man named Harry H. Jones. Jones was Wheeling’s only African American attorney, and he delivered the speech on the white-owned radio station WWVA.

It’s purpose was to speak with the white residents of Wheeling, to try and get them to understand the inequities facing the black residents of town under Jim Crow segregation. Jones asked the white community to find empathy, and consider legal and social changes to address those inequities.

“So this exhibit is about healing. It’s about bringing people together and recognizing that the past has had an impact on the present, and hoping that people will open up their hearts and have empathy and discuss this, white and black.”

Sean Duffy, Programming and Exhibits Coordinator

Ron Scott with the Wheeling YWCA and author Tom DeWolf spoke at the event, with a film screening and Q&A with Wolf later on in the evening. The exhibit has been created in partnership with the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

7NEWS will have a deeper look at this exhibit in the coming days, so stay tuned.