Woman Is Poster Child for Exhibit in Danville

Danville, VA - Imagine seeing a flyer for a museum exhibit displaying your picture without you even knowing. That's what happened to one Danville woman.

Now she's brought that exhibit home. Starting this weekend, the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History will host DOVE, Desegregation of Virginia Education.

Paula Martin Smith remembers protesting buses and going through a segregated school system. But when she grew up and segregation faded away, she thought her story would stay just with her. Until last May, when she saw a museum flyer asking to "Tell your story to help us tell her story"

"There staring back at me in the top left corner was my picture as a child," said Smith.

A picture that her father had submitted to the local paper as Virginia's first youth life member of the NAACP.

"It was just overwhelming to me, it was just a shock. I'm focusing on wanting to share history of those times and there is a picture of me from those times," said Smith.

Smith found out the picture was selected randomly.

"They picked my picture and said she has a story to tell. It's just phenomenal to me. It's so surreal to see your picture as a poster and you have no idea that it is out there like that," said Smith.

The exhibit, DOVE, goes through education and desegregation.

"We want to make sure people remember our history and move on," said CB Maddox, Visitor Service Coordinator for Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History.

And now the poster girl that was advertised as having a story to tell has a way to tell it.

"Many have stories. I can just about assure you that any picture that they would have plucked out a pile would have a story. They just happen to choose mine," said Smith.

The exhibit starts this weekend and goes through mid-December. They are asking for people to tell their stories of desegregation. If you want more information call CB Maddox at (434)793-5644.