Archivist and Historian shares perspective for Black History Month


Vanessa Wigfall

Lydia Neuroth speaks in the library.

Guest speaker Lydia Neuroth was invited by the Clover Hill Library as a guest speaker for Black History Month. Neuroth works at the Library of Virginia as a historian and an archivist. During her visit at the Hill, Neuroth spoke about her journey through finding the right career path and the Virginia Untold project.

The CHHS Librarians were initially looking for a guest speaker for Black History Month. Librarian Cassidy Capuano first heard about Neuroth via a colleague who had previously hosted Neuroth. Neuroth travels to multiple schools to educate the next generation on the stories of the untold. 

Neuroth has always had a passion for the past and knew the study of history would be a career path that interests her. Neuroth had no intention of specifically working in the study of black history, but through more exposure, she eventually gained a lot of interest for that field of history.

“I did not envision working specifically in Black history,” Neuroth said. “As I gained more exposure to the field I started to see the significant gap in our understanding of the everyday experiences of Black southerners, principally the lives of those who were enslaved on the land all around us.”

The official title of her job is Project Manager of a Specific Digital Project at the Library of Virginia. Neuroth is in charge of the management of the digitization of archival records that pertain to black history in the Library of Virginia. Virginia Untold is a digital project that collects thousands of records of enslaved and free black and multiracial people throughout American history. 

“I was intentionally seeking roles that would allow me to contribute to amplifying marginalized voices from the archives,” Neuroth said. “However, I was encouraged by the goals of Virginia Untold to provide access to stories that have not been told.”

Librarian Cassidy Capuano chose to invite Neuroth in hopes of finding a guest speaker for Black History Month. 

“It was really cool when I found out she would be sharing a mix of things,” Capuano said. “We got some career talk, if you will, how history can become a profession and how she came about getting this job. And then she was also able to talk a little bit about the significance of her role and being able to share those marginalized stories and celebrating the black history in the United States, but in Virginia specifically.”

Capuano allowed Cluny Brown’s African American history class, historical research, and African American culture club to reserve seating first because what they are currently learning ties into Neuroth visit. In the future, the librarians would like to have a variety of guest speakers for the students at Clover Hill. Capuano really enjoyed how Neuroth is an example for high school students to follow. She believes that, in the same way that Neuroth uses her career to lift others’ voices, students can learn that they too have a voice to help others.

“We talked about how her role allows her voice to be heard and share other peoples voices,” Capuano said. “I think it was important for students to be able to hear how that could be the same for them. Their path down the road can give them a voice no matter what they’re passionate about whether it’s something related to that or not.”