State buildings dedicated to the Virginia civil rights leader

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Reid also co-founded the voting rights group Richmond Crusade for Voters in 1956. He is now 96 and lives in California.

One of the three townhouses in Reid’s Row was named the “Townes House,” in honor of the Townes family that has served the Executive Mansion since the 1970s. Nine members of the Townes family — spanning three generations — have worked in the mansion, including Tutti Townes, who currently serves as head butler.

State officials also highlighted a renovated entrance to the Capitol where a beloved Capitol police officer, Woodrow “Buddy” Dowdy III, was stationed for a decade. Dowdy, who spent 33 years on the force, died last year while undergoing treatment for COVID-19. A plaque honoring Dowdy has been added to a flowerbed next to a new guardhouse.

Northam dedicated another nearby structure, the “Sargent Building,” in honor of 1st Lt. Ruppert L. Sargent, the first African American officer to receive the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration. Sargent was killed in action during the Vietnam War. The building will be used by the Division of Capitol Police as a K9 training facility.

Story Highlights

  • A set of three now-gleaming historic houses on Capitol Square was dedicated “Reid’s Row” in honor of Dr. William Ferguson “Fergie” Reid, who in 1967 became the first African American elected to the General Assembly after Reconstruction.

  • The dedication was part of a ceremony marking the completion and naming of other projects around the historic Capitol Square.