Blog Post

A Remembrance of Local Icon

“One Day at a Time”

“One day at a time.” A commonly heard phrase of encouragement. This phrase meant much more to local William Fields. William Fields, born right here in Chilhowie, Virginia faced adversity from the very beginning. At the time of his birth, Field’s parents were told he would not even make it through the night but taking life one day at a time Fields lived a full life until his passing on August 31st, 2021. Fields attended the Carnegie High School in Marion, Virginia during times of segregation and found a passion for art. Fields was a talented artist working in photography, paintings, and leatherworks. Many of his paintings can be viewed throughout the region in places like the Emory & Henry Appalachian Center for Civic Life and the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia. Fields’ art interpreted what life was like for African Americans in the region. Along with his artwork, Fields was very committed to the region and the preservation of history within the area. After retiring from his 30 year long career at Blue Ridge Job Corp, he still volunteered at local schools. Not only did Fields work within schools, you could often find him storytelling in various locations within Smyth County, especially the Mount Pleasant Preservation Society Museum. An educator, a family man, a man of honor are all phrases to represent William Fields. His dedication to the area, the history of the Black community, and to his family make Mr. Fields a local icon. With Black History Month beginning February 1st, it is important to honor his life and the impact he had on the region and still take life “one day at a time.” 

Mr. William Fields
Artwork by William Fields