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Various officials and community members gathered together on Wednesday to officially rename and dedicate the 29 Business North Bridge in Blairs as the William H. Pritchett Memorial Bridge. The late William Pritchett was the first Black person on the Board of Supervisors and the first representative for the Banister District, which was formed in 1992.
"I am extremely pleased to be honoring an honorable trailblazer like Mr. Pritchett with this bridge renaming," said Dr. Charles Miller, current supervisor for the Banister District. "Pritchett served the constituents of the Banister District and all residents of Pittsylvania County faithfully for 20 years. As the first black man on the Board of Supervisors, Pritchett made an undeniable impact on our county and remains an example for everyone that has served on the Board of Supervisors since then.”
The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in April to rename the bridge after Mr. Pritchett, who represented the Banister District from 1992 to 2011. The Banister District was created in 1992 as the county's first majority minority district.
During his 20 years on the Board of Supervisors, Pritchett was involved in many different subcommittees, served on various community boards, and was a leader in the development of the West Piedmont Work Force Investment Board. During that time he also served as vice-chairman seven times and as Chairman once. Pritchett died in 2016.
"This Board of Supervisors is committed to honoring those who faithfully serve and benefit this community, and we believe that Mr. Pritchett, as the first African-American Supervisor and a man who gave so much during 20 years on the board, is worthy of this honor," said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board, which has the authority to name state highways, bridges, interchanges, and other transportation facilities, approved the reaming of the Pritchett Bridge in April.
Many other community members, including local and regional officials and friends and family of the late Mr. Pritchett, attended and spoke during Wednesday's ceremony. In July a similar ceremony was held for the dedication of the Clyde L. Banks Memorial Bridge, which is on 29 North entering the Town of Chatham.
Below are a few quotes from the ceremony: