- Published: September 15, 2011
Valena Randolph died Thursday, Sept. 1, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 61.
Ms. Randolph was born in Marin City, Calif., to the late Elbert and Alma Randolph. She graduated from Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, Calif. She loved to sing and she and her sisters formed the singing group, “The Randolph Sisters.”
Her brother said she developed a love for history and worked during the summer to raise money to attend college. After much research, she selected Wilberforce University, as it is one of the oldest historically African-American universities in the nation. She graduated from Wilberforce University with a bachelor of science degree in English. After graduating, she fell in love with the Wilberforce and Xenia communities and made Xenia her home. She continued her education, earning a master of arts degree in teaching from Antioch University’s graduate education program in Yellow Springs.
Ms. Randolph was active and held membership with numerous organizations, including the Greene County Public Library Board of Trustees, Association of African-American Museums, Ohio Association of Museums, Learning Centers Network and Springfield Arts Council.
When Ms. Randolph was not mentoring students in the community, she was performing one-woman dramatizations of such strong African-American women as Mary Church Terrell and Harriet Tubman. She was constantly scouring books and journals to present history as an exciting study to her students and the general public. She served on the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and researched and wrote five Ohio historical markers, including those placed on the campuses of Payne Theological Seminary and Wilberforce University.
Ms. Randolph is survived by her brother, Ben Randolph, and sisters, Cecilia Harris and Ruth Randolph, all of Marin City, Calif. Other survivors include many nieces, nephews and cousins, beloved sorority sisters and many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Melvin.
A memorial service for Valena will be held Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m,. at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, where she worked as an education specialist and developed programs to provide information and study tools for exhibits and activities. During the years, she was also was an associate professor at Wilberforce University.