William “Billy” Grimes Rogerson

January 29, 2021 - June 28, 2021

Visitation Services

Wednesday, June 30, 2021, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

Thursday, July 1, 2021, starting at 11:00 AM

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

William “Billy” Grimes Rogerson, 78, passed away on June 28, 2021. He was a member of Main Street Baptist Church and belonged to the American Legion Group. Billy is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph E. Rogerson, Sr., Glenn Dora Grimes Rogerson, brother, James L. Rogerson. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Judy Rogerson, sons, Shaun Rogerson (Stephanie), Paul Rogerson (Teri), William Beighley, brother, Joseph Rogerson, Jr., sister, Elizabeth R. Bryant, granddaughter, Lily Rogerson, great-grandson, Matthew Kiser, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held at Echols Funeral Home, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

A funeral service will take place at Echols Funeral Home, Thursday, July 1, 2021, starting at 11:00 A.M. with interment to follow at Emporia Cemetery. Dr. Rick Hurst and Rev. Dave Roberts will be officiating.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Governor Northam Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the Virginia Constitution

1971 document replaced regressive constitution in place since 1902 that enshrined segregation, disenfranchisement

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today marked Constitution Day by visiting the Library of Virginia to view original copies of four of Virginia’s Constitutions and commemorate 50 years since the current Virginia Constitution took effect on July 1, 1971. Until 1971, the Virginia Constitution included detailed provisions intended to disenfranchise Black voters and prohibit racially integrated public schools.

In the years after the Civil War, the brief period of Reconstruction was characterized by state and federal laws that expanded the rights and freedoms of citizens. But Virginia leaders re-wrote the state constitution explicitly to restore white supremacy, culminating in the Constitution of 1902 that instituted poll taxes, literacy tests, and other barriers to voting. The Constitution also required segregated schools by prohibiting the teaching of Black and white children in the same school. While some of the most discriminatory provisions of the 1902 Constitution were reversed by federal law or court decisions, it remained in effect in Virginia for most of the 20th century, until voters approved a new constitution in 1971.

“The 50th anniversary of Virginia’s 1971 Constitution is an important opportunity to acknowledge how our Commonwealth has evolved,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia has 400 years of history—good and bad—and it is important that we tell the accurate, honest story of our past. Understanding our full history means learning about these events and the ways they are connected to the present day, so we can work together to build a better future for all Virginians.”

The 1971 Virginia Constitution took important steps to renounce the constitution in place since 1902 by eliminating the poll tax, enshrining a ban on racially segregated schools, providing free public education for every school-aged child, and prohibiting governmental discrimination based on race, color, national origin or sex. 

Work on the 1971 Virginia Constitution began in 1968 when Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. appointed a commission to revise the 1902 document. This action came in response to the momentous social changes of the 1960s, including the passage of the Civil Rights Act and other laws that superseded discriminatory provisions in state constitutions, including that of Virginia.

A.E. Dick Howard, the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of Law at University of Virginia School of Law, served as executive director of the Commission on Constitutional Revision 50 years ago and directed the successful referendum campaign for the ratification of a new constitution.

“Thomas Jefferson famously called for each generation to consider the extent to which a constitution serves the needs of its own time,” said Professor Howard. “In 1971, the revision commission’s purpose was to repudiate the racism of the 1902 constitution, and to put Virginia on a sound and progressive footing. I consider Virginia to have been well served by the commission—they handed us a good constitution, and the proof lies in the fact that it continues to serve the purpose of upholding a democratic government.” 

Virginia adopted its first Constitution on June 29, 1776, declaring the total dissolution of the rule of Great Britain and its monarch over the citizens of the Commonwealth. Virginia also led the nation by adopting the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which later influenced the United States Constitution Bill of Rights. 

Virginians are encouraged to participate in events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Virginia Constitution of 1971. A list of some of those events can be found here

The public can view original copies of Virginia’s Constitutions of 1776, 1869, 1902, and 1971 from June 29 – July 1, 2021 at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

Governor Northam and Professor Howard viewing original copies of Virginia’s Constitutions at the Library of Virginia.

"Birthday Time"

I heard it on the grapevine
so I know it must be true
yes soon after this month is past
I've another birthday due.
It don't seem like a year has past
since I last had one
yet when you get to my age
you soon forget the fun.
Now I'm not looking for presents
for I have most all I need
still with my hearty appetite
I know I'll accept feed.
Well I spent the day out shopping
for candles for my cake
I want to be prepared
if someone asks to make.
Now I do want to have enough
to make a blaze when all are lit
yes and I also need to know the cake size
so on top they all will fit!
                         - Roy E. Schepp
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