On Friday, June 7, from 5:30-7:30pm, Virginia Humanities African American Programs will premiere Afro-Virginia: People, Place & Power during the First Fridays Art Opening at Studio IX Gallery & Listening Room (969 2nd Street SE, Charlottesville, VA). The month-long exhibition profiles several leaders behind Virginia’s African American historic preservation movement using photos, audio recordings, and Google Maps. It features the work of Virginia Humanities staff members Miranda Bennett and Peter Hedlund (Encyclopedia Virginia), Pat Jarrett (Virginia Folklife Program), and exhibition curator Justin Reid (African American Programs).
Virginia is home to the oldest African American communities in the nation. Yet of Virginia’s nearly 250,000 state-documented cultural and historic resources, only 1% reflect African American history. A growing statewide coalition of local grassroots organizers, heritage organizations, and government officials are working to redress this disparity. Afro-Virginia shares their successes, challenges and hopes for the future, and serves as a call to greater action.
The exhibition is a project of the Virginia General Assembly African American Cultural Resources (AACR) Task Force, a bipartisan advisory group chaired by Delegate Delores McQuinn, comprised of several statewide organizations, including Preservation Virginia, Virginia Africana Associates, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Virginia Humanities, and Virginia Tourism.
Generous support has been provided by American Evolution™ 2019 Commemoration, Richard S. Reynolds Foundation and TowneBank. Planning is currently underway to show the exhibition in Danville, Hampton, Norfolk, Petersburg, and Richmond.