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Our Purpose:  

To preserve the accomplishments of local African American history.


Our Mission:

The mission of the African American Research Society is to research, develop and maintain an ongoing written, pictorial and multi-media archive of the African American experience in Staunton and Augusta County from its early settlement in 1738 to the present by focusing on education, business, politics, religion, military service and cultural experience.

SACAARS Board Members

Susie King, President
Alice Woods, Vice President
Cynthia Easterling, Treasurer
Bertie Pannell, Assistant Treasurer
Marie Thomas, Secretary
Jackie Jackson

The seeds for the African American Research Committee of Staunton/Augusta County were planted in 2005 when Susie Brent-King began researching her family’s education history. In conducting this research, Susie met Dr. Laten Bechtel. As a result of their work together on the Brent family, they collaborated on a larger project to research the Staunton-Augusta County Black School System from 1865-1966. Many interviews were conducted with older members of the community who are now deceased. Thankfully their history was preserved! Sheila Miller-Ahmadi joined in 2007 to establish the Committee. Others joined them to create and present programs on local Black History. In 2016, the organization changed its name to the Staunton-Augusta County African American Research Society (SACAARS), applied for and received 501c3 status, created a logo and a website. Much has been accomplished in these 10 years!

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SACAARS is entering its second decade! The challenges are greater than ever before.  The need for  SACAARS is greater than ever before.  

And if local Black history is to be preserved, SACAARS must have more resources to work at full capacity.


In its second decade, SACAARS must continue to be an influential champion for Staunton and Augusta County’s Black history-- nurturing the knowledge and importance of history for our young people, promoting the useful and valuable interviews of our disappearing elders, and preserving the Black community’s contribution to Staunton and Augusta County. We must advocate for the importance of preserving and documenting this treasured history for the generations to come.


  • Historical Markers for cities and towns in the valley

  • Publication of our anthology: A Walk Down Memory Lane

  • Establishment of a fund to acquire space for Archives and a Museum


In its second decade, SACAARS must continue to engage in innovative efforts at the local level and  must expand educational outreach by bringing  history to young people and the broader community.


We hope you will join and support SACAARS as it enters its second decade!

To download our current newsletter click here
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