NJG Newswire/LYNCHBURG, VA
In a few months, Lynchburg residents will drive past a new monument that honors the city’s first African American mayor, M.W. “Teedy” Thornhill, who was elected in 1990, and died at age 95 in 2016.
Construction on the new monument began June 12 and is expected to end in about two months, according to news reports. Thornhill was first elected to Lynchburg City Council in 1972 as the Ward II representative. He was elected mayor in 1990. He worked with several well-known political leaders including the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr., Congressman John Lewis, and Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder. Thornhill owned and operated Community Funeral home on 5th Street. He ran the funeral home with his family including his son, M.W. Thornhill, III “Butch,” and his granddaughter, Chonda L. Thornhill.
As construction workers erect the statue at Fifth and Federal Streets, expect delays and lane closures. The City of Lynchburg, the 5th Street Community Development Corp., Wiley|Wilson and Hill Studio are funding the project.
Carolina Bronze of Seagrove, N.C., designed the statue. The artist is Ed Walker, according to news reports. The statue is expected to be unveiled Aug. 19, the weekend of the old Dunbar High School reunion.