Friends and family gathered on Nov. 20 to honor the legacy of former U.S. Rep. Tim Valentine during an unveiling ceremony for The Tim Valentine Collection in the Nash Community College Library.
Itimous Thaddeus “Tim” Valentine Jr. was born in Rocky Mount on March 15, 1926, to Itimous Valentine and Hazel Armstrong. Raised in Nash County, he graduated from Nashville High School before the outbreak of World War II.
In 1944 he joined the Army Air Forces and served in the Pacific theater. After his military service he graduated from the Citadel Military Academy in Charleston, S.C. and subsequently earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
After law school, he joined the family law firm, The Valentine Firm, in Nashville.
Valentine began his political career in 1955 serving for five years in the state House of Representatives. He then served as an advisor to Gov. Dan K. Moore, and as the chairman of the executive committee of the state Democratic Party. In 1982, Valentine was elected to Congress as the representative of North Carolina’s 2nd District. Valentine retired in 1995 after serving six terms.
Recalling his service with Valentine, former state Sen. A.B. Swindell said, “Tim Valentine did what was right for all people. He had everything it took to be a successful congressman.”
Valentine is remembered as being a proponent of the Voting Rights Act during the Civil Rights Movement and for community service to the citizens of the 2nd District. A portion of U.S. 64 that runs through Nash County is named for him in recognition of his public service to the people of North Carolina.
During the ceremony, Valentine’s wife, Barbara, shared that Valentine expressed his interest in preserving the history in the scrapbooks. NCC Trustee Jim Martin and President Emeritus Reid Parrott were instrumental in facilitating the donation of the collection.
The exhibit includes memorabilia from Valentine’s life, including more than 75 scrapbooks, images from his childhood, World War II artifacts and items related to his experiences in aviation, law and public service. Additionally, news clippings, hand-written notes and other materials represent his political service.
“The conversation with Congressman Valentine continues through his legacy of memorabilia and treasures,” NCC Associate Vice President of Transfer Initiatives Deana Guido said.
The Tim Valentine Study Room and material in the Nash Community College Library Archives are valuable resources for students and scholars doing research on the connections between local, state, and national politics and public service. Artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks, documents and other primary sources that record the life and career of Tim Valentine are available for research upon request at the library service desk.
“The Nash Community College Library takes pride in showcasing the Tim Valentine Collection and working toward having the scrapbooks scanned to be available to researchers both in Nash County and at a distance,” Guido said. “Instructors across the curriculum will be able to assign research projects using primary sources from a Nash County perspective.”