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A PLACE CALLED ZION’S HILL The early foundations of African American education and faith in Christiansburg, VA, are offshoots of the relentless efforts of Rev. Charles Schaeffer. Many years of his life were dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual condition of African Americans throughout Virginia. Two testaments to his impact and resolve are the old Christiansburg Industrial Institute and the Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church, 18 bearing his name, that stand together atop Zion’s Hill. In The Story of a Consecrated Life, biographer Charles Harrison describes Schaeffer’s 1866 appointment with the Freedmen’s Bureau as, “…a series of providential steps which brought Mr. Schaeffer in direct relations with the field of his future life-work. It is by such seemingly insignificant events as these that our lives are modified, and sometimes the whole current of them changed.” 19 Schaeffer’s PURPOSE extended beyond his work as a public servant through the Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees and Abandoned Lands 20 . He was also a teacher and Baptist minister. He displayed LEADERSHIP in his personal, professional, and ministerial life. Although the view from the outside in is never the same as the view from the inside out, Rev. Schaeffer believed that education and faith were essential and should be available to anyone. When he wasn’t traveling out of town, he, along with some of the church members, went throughout the local community sharing Bible stories in pictures and song, thereby granting ACCESS to the church outside of the building. Photo Credits: The Story of a Consecrated Life Title Page (top) and Stained-Glass Window (bottom) at Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church, Christiansburg, VA THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 25

Bronze Bust of Rev. Schaeffer by Larry Bechtel 21 Schaeffer’s letters and journals provided some of the details of hatred and other difficulties he encountered while visiting, ministering, teaching, and constructing buildings, not just in Christiansburg, but in other parts of Virginia. Through it all, he made the CHOICE to continue the pursuit of his life-work. Nearly everything that Schaeffer took on involved some form of local community ENGAGEMENT and visiting other parts of the region. Because of his pursuits, the school and church buildings on Zion’s Hill served as training grounds for many African Americans. They prepared students and disciples to create a new PLACE of learning or worship in their communities. Schaeffer was integral in the founding of the Christiansburg Industrial Institute. If there is one word that could be used to describe how Schaeffer went about bringing c0mmunities closer together, it’s INTENTIONAL. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 26