African American Heritage Bus Tour
Guided by the Valentine Richmond History Center, examine the African American experience in Richmond’s history, and honor the impact of modern Richmonders such as Arthur Ashe and Douglas Wilder. This tour happens only twice a year, and includes a visit to the Maggie Walker Historic Site, and a trip through historic Jackson Ward, frequently referred to as “The Black Wall Street of America.”
Saturday, Feb. 7, 1 – 4 p.m. Please arrive by 12:45 pm.
The African American Heritage Bus Tour departs from the Center, 1015 E. Clay St. Tickers are $23 ($20 members and children 6-18; children under 6 are free). Cost includes admission to the History Center on the day of the tour. For Reservations, call 649-0711 ext. 301. Free parking is available in the History Center lot off of 10th St. between Marshall and Clay Sts.
Monthly African American Genealogy Workshop
The Workshops take place every 2nd Saturday of the each month at Byrd Community House. On Feb. 14, the Guest Speaker is the Honorable Viola Baskerville, Secretary of Administration appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine. Ms. Baskerville has exciting news about the Freedman’s Bureau project and she will share her story about her own passion for genealogy.
Saturday Feb. 14, 1 – 3 p.m., William Byrd Community House, 224 S. Cherry St., Info 643.2717 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be a hands-on genealogy research session and genealogists will be available to answer your questions and help you learn! William Byrd Community House is a Technical Learning Center for CAAGRI.
African American Trailblazers Honored at State Library
In observance of African American History Month, the Library of Virginia, in partnership with Capital One, is pleased to honor eight distinguished Virginians as African American Trailblazers. Through education, advocacy, entertainment, or armed rebellion, these individuals refused to be defined by their circumstances, and serve as powerful examples how African Americans have actively campaigned for better lives for themselves and their people. Biographies of the honorees will be featured all month in an exhibition at the Library.
An Awards Ceremony takes place Feb. 26 at the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St. To attend, call 692-3900. Those honored are:
Dangerfield Newby (1820–1859), Culpeper Co., member of John Brown’s raiding party;
Amaza Lee Meredith (1895–1984), Lynchburg and Petersburg, architect;
Oliver White Hill (1907–2007), Richmond, attorney and civil rights leader;
Edna Lewis (1916–2006), Orange Co., chef and author;
Evelyn Thomas Butts (1924–1993), Norfolk, principal in case to invalidate the poll tax;
Claudia Alexander Whitworth (born 1927), Roanoke, newspaper publisher and humanitarian;
John Cephas (born 1930), Caroline Co., bluesman and international performer;
Leland Melvin (born 1964), Lynchburg, astronaut
To learn more, visit www.lva.virginia.gov/trailblazers/.
Remembering Brown v. Board of Education
Wednesday, Feb. 11
In “Law Touched Our Hearts,”:book editors Mildred W. Robinson and Richard J. Bonnie will offer an overview of the moving stories of those who attended public school soon after the Brown v. The Board of Education decision and saw their lives and society change. Robinson is Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. Bonnie is Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law, Hunton & Williams Research Professor, and director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry & Public Policy at the University of Virginia. A book signing follows. Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St.
Black Artists at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Images Courtesy Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.
Have you ever considered that a day at work could be artful? That time off could be honored in stone or collage?
“Labor and Leisure,” currently showing at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Boulevard, showcases art by black artists that represents specific as well as abstract and conceptual interpretations of work and rest.
Opening today and running through May 3, the exhibit spans the history of art from the Harlem Renaissance to the present, and includes sculpture by Charles White and Leslie Bolling, the watercolor “Subway–Home from Work” by Jacob Lawrence, photographs by James VanDerZee, as well as work by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Lorna Simpson, Willie Cole and Richmond’s Leslie Garland Bolling.
A free public lecture cosponsored by the Friends of African and African American Art takes place March 4 in the Marble Hall at 6 pm. Emily Smith, VMFA’s authority on Modern and Contemporary Art, will discuss works in the exhibition.
Just down the sidewalk, at the Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard, “The African American Image in Virginia” explores a different facet of Black History. Mark your calendar for the Gallery Walk on Feb. 11 at 12 noon, led by Curator Dr. Lauranett Lee. The exhibit runs through Dec. 30, with a permanent online version.
“This exhibition is about identity,” said Dr. Lee. “The images show a changing state and nation. As America has grown over four centuries, the idea of how African Americans present themselves and how they are presented by others has changed and evolved.”
Most of the images displayed were created by white males. The result was often that blacks were not depicted as individuals, but as generalized representatives and caricature. The exhibit examines those images as well as the culture that gave rise to them.
“This exhibition is intended to be thought-provoking,” said Lee. “We want to help visitors understand what it is that they are seeing and what it means. We want visitors to understand the world in which the image was created, the era and attitudes of that time. Some of the images are degrading, but it is not cruel to show these ugly episodes of our past; if we hide them, we don’t learn. And then how can we grow?”
“Visitors are fortunate that the VHS and VMFA exhibitions are on display at the same time and are so close,” Lee said. “It is important to get different perspectives, and the more opportunities we have to explore these powerful African American images, the more we will understand about our past.”
Currently exhibiting at Elegba Folklore Society’s Cultural Center, 101 E. Broad St., are photographs by Babtunde Lawal, in “Oyotunji: A Yoruba Kingdom in America.” Dr. Babatunde Lawal is a Yoruba and an art history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
On Saturday, Feb. 7 at 5 pm, a Black History event that will help visitors interpret the exhibition. Enjoy African inspired food and drink. Then Dr. Christopher A. Brooks, Professor of Anthropology at VCU who has visited and studied Oyotunji, will offer remarks. There will be a performance by the Society’s African dancers and drummers, a presentation on Yoruba practices outside of Nigeria and throughout the world.
Oyotunji: A Yoruba Kingdom in America, is related to a current exhibition at VCU’s Anderson Gallery, “Embodying the Sacred in Yoruba Art.” Both exhibitions run through March 1. Info 644-3900