Past and Present: Virgie King

Virgie King stands for a portrait outside her home on Friday, June 10, 2016. She was born in Mississippi and received a degree in education from Jackson State University. She moved up to Fairbanks when her husband was stationed at Fort Wainwright 44 years ago and she began teaching in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. King has won many honors, including Woman of Distinction in 2000, and she has brought many accomplished African-Americans to Fairbanks including Rosa Parks. Despite being told the school district didn't have the funding, she found a way to hold the first African-American Student Leadership Conference in Fairbanks at Tanana Middle School in 1986. It began for middle schoolers, but the following year she added a high school conference at the request of graduating 8th graders. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the AASLC, which King continues to run at the age of 75. It will be held at the Pioneer Park Civic Center on Monday, September 19 for middle schoolers and Tuesday, September 20 for high schoolers. The conference provides African-American students with role models that can show them their dreams and goals for the future are possible. "It was need 30 years ago and it's still needed now," said King. Have you or someone you know had their photograph taken by a News-Miner photographer 10 or more years ago? If you would be interested in participating in this project contact Erin Corneliussen at