Richmond Honors Black History Month

By Annie Tobey | January 30th, 2020

Museums, exhibitions, special events and lectures will educate and inspire

Rumors of War statue at the VMFA, by Kehinde Wiley for Black History Month

History and art museums as well as community programs have created a rich list of exhibitions and events to honor African Americans during Black History Month. You can even roll up your sleeves and help to restore African American history!

Visit the websites for more information and prices (though many of these fine events are totally free).

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

“Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop” exhibition

180 photographs from the New York-based group’s early members, including Richmond native Louis Draper. (Read an overview of the exhibition from BOOMER magazine.) Feb. 1-June 14

“Working Together,” curator’s opening talk

Thu, Jan 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

OPEN STUDIO PLUS Grandma’s Hands

Two sisters share stories from the perspective of the African American South.

Feb. 2, 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.

FIRST FRIDAY, Spirituals

Sopranos Lisa Edwards Burrs and Olletta Cheatham perform spirituals.

Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m.

GALLERY PROGRAM 3 in 30, African American Art and the Power of the Written Word with Dr. Christopher Oliver, Assistant Curator of American Art

Explore three objects on view in VMFA’s American Art galleries with Dr. Oliver and discover their connection to the power of poetry and prose.

Feb. 11, 11-11:30 a.m.

Feb. 13, 6:30-7 p.m.


Klaxton Brown Band. Led by saxophonist Robert “Bo” Bohannon, Klaxton Brown Band combines the old with the new.

Feb. 13, 6-9 p.m.


Art, dancing, food and more.

Hosted by Kelli Lemon, with DJ Lonnie B on the spin and Legacy Band performing live.

Feb. 15, 7-11:30 p.m.

ARTIST TALK, Paul Rucker

Multidisciplinary artist Paul Rucker discusses his art and practice as a visual artist, composer and musician.

Feb. 21, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

DANCE AFTER WORK, Hip-Hop Line Dancing
Feb. 21, 6–8 p.m.

GALLERY PROGRAM African American Read-In

See and hear notable figures from the greater Richmond community as they lend their voices in prose and poetry readings through the galleries.

Feb. 27, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

COMMUNITY EVENT, Celebrate Wiley!

A community celebration of Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War.

Feb. 29, 10-11 a.m. 

GALLERY PROGRAM, Family African American Read-In
Feb. 29, 11 a.m.-noon
Intended audience: children ages 2–8 years with their guardian; everyone is welcome. Experience African and African American children’s literature read by members of the community in front of engaging works of art.

Black History Museum and Cultural Center

Feb. 9: History of African American Music with Glennroy Bailey

Feb. 15: Literary Saturday with Children’s Author Lesa Cline-Ransome

Feb. 18: “Yes, we did!” Lawrence Jackson, photographer for President Obama

Feb. 22: “Black Facts” High School Competition

Feb. 29: Confetti: Community Conversation at Mount Olivet Baptist Church

The BHMVA is also commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment, which recognized black men’s right to vote. The museum notes the ongoing struggle on the part of black, both men and women, to exercise that right and says, “Let’s all do our part, let our voices be heard, and vote.”

Virginia Museum of History & Culture

“Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality”

Exhibition examines the history of black Americans from 1619 to the present as they have fought for freedom and equal justice and opportunities, pushing our nation closer to the ideal of universal equality. Through March 29.

“Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine”

Lecture by Kelley Fanto Deetz.

Feb. 27, 6 to 7 p.m.

American Civil War Museum

Book Talk with Richard Bell–Stolen

Uncover the true story of five boys who were kidnapped in the North and smuggled into slavery in the Deep South – and their daring attempt to escape and bring their captors to justice.

Historic Tredegar

Feb. 1, 1 p.m.

History Happy Hour RVA: Enough to Vote

The war to end slavery was won with the passage of the 13th Amendment, but the struggle for suffrage raged on. Voting rights, political power and “simply justice” were joined to produce the Last Act of Reconstruction.

Bottoms Up Pizza, 1700 Dock St.

Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.

The Ashland Museum

History Talks, with Cameron Patterson, Moton Museum

The Center, 500 S. Center St.

Feb. 5, 7 p.m.

Untold Stories Growing Up in Ashland/Hanover, Black and White Experiences: Oral histories

Patrick Henry High School

Feb. 23, 4 p.m.


View from the Butler’s Pantry at Maymont

See Maymont Mansion from the perspective of those who knew it as a workplace: the daily challenges that African American workers faced maintaining a millionaire’s home while navigating the difficulties beyond the estate’s gates in turbulent times.

Saturdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, Noon-5 p.m., tours every half hour

Evergreen Cemetery Service Events

Black History Month at Evergreen Cemetery on Facebook

The Enrichmond Foundation invites the community to assist in continuing efforts to restore Evergreen Cemetery, a historic African American cemetery (50 Evergreen Road). The restoration events will take place on the first four Saturdays of February from 9 a.m. to noon. Each Saturday features a theme related to the cemetery’s residents and the spirit of community, educational opportunities and restoration work.

Feb. 1, Greek Letter Day: Tour of the cemetery. Participants are encouraged to come out with other alumni and wear sorority, fraternity, high school, college or other alumni colors.

Feb. 8, Genealogy Day: Includes a presentation by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Attendees can wear tan, white, green and black.

Feb. 15, Family Day: This event is family-friendly, and all ages are welcome. Includes tour. Red, white and pink are welcome colors.

Feb. 22, African Heritage Day: Presentation by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, plus tour. Attendees can wear red, yellow, green and black, or other colors or patterns representing their personal heritage.

Chesterfield County

Black History Month Kick-Off Celebration

Music, line dancing, food, and vendors. We’ll have Sud’n Change and DJ Chuck Stone keeping you on the dance floor.

Virginia State University Gateway Hall

Feb. 1, 4-8 p.m.

Movie Feature: Loving

The story of Richard and Mildred Loving and their fight against Virginia’s unjust interracial marriage laws.

LaPrade Library

Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m.

Origins of the First Twenty Africans

Pia Spinner, a former interpreter from Henricus Historical Park, will share the origins of the first twenty Africans brought to America. Discover how the arrival of these men and women would shape the direction of a burgeoning nation.

Bon Air Library

Feb. 6, 6-7 p.m.

Come Freedom, Come

Celebrate Black History Month with film and stage actor Valerie Davis portrays Martha Ann Fields, an enslaved cook from Hanover, Virginia, in this captivating production. Hear how she took flight with her eight children and remade her life as a free woman. All ages.

Meadowdale Library

Feb. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Gospel Sounds of Cora Armstrong

Bringing her keyboard and mellifluous voice, Cora Armstrong brings her gift of song to Chesterfield. Join us for a night of music, storytelling and fellowship.

Virginia State University, Anderson Turner Auditorium

Feb. 10, 6-7 p.m.

Project 1619

Calvin Pearson, founder of and president of Project 1619, will discuss his organization’s mission to promote awareness of the first Africans brought to America. Mr. Pearson will discuss the importance of the 400th anniversary of this momentous occasion and why it is essential we understand the human toll of slavery

Chester Library

Feb. 13, 6-7 p.m.

Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad

The Virginia Repertory Theatre shares the personal and historical journey of Harriet Tubman, the monumental American icon. For all ages

North Courthouse Road Library

Feb. 17, 6-7 p.m.

We Need Diverse Books, with Lamar Giles

Renowned author Lamar Giles talks about the importance of diversity in literature and the power of personal stories. Giles will discuss why seeing representations of all people is an essential element to literature’s survival. A book sale and signing will follow the program. Registration is required.

Meadowdale Library

Feb. 21, 7-8 p.m.

Racial Segregation: Then and Now

Join Dr. John Moeser and author Margaret Edds to learn how two Virginia lawyers helped Thurgood Marshall bring down the Jim Crow system. This lecture will give you a peek into the personal lives of these attorneys and the struggles they endured during the trial and after their work was done.

Bon Air Library

Feb. 22, 2-3:30 p.m.

A Little Child Shall Lead Them: School Desegregation in Prince Edward County

Author and professor Brian J. Daugherity will discuss the student strike that pushed Prince Edward County to become a part of Brown v. Board of Education. Professor Daugherity will go over the personal documents, speeches and court cases that led to this groundbreaking case.

Midlothian Library

Feb. 24, 6-7 p.m.

Jazz in the Civil Rights Era

Flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq discusses and performs jazz pieces that provide an understanding and appreciation of jazz, its historical significance, and its role in the civil rights movement.

Central Library

Feb. 29, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Henrico County

The Ragged Road to Reconstruction

The American Civil War ended in 1865. The period that followed was going to be a time of reunification, reform, and physical rebuilding, but legislation was enacted to create a period of division, fear, and oppression. The immediate effects of reconstruction legislation and the birth of Jim Crow will be discussed.

Meadow Farm Museum

Feb. 1, 1-3 p.m.

Harriet, the movie

The tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Henrico Theatre

Feb. 7-9

Elegba Folklore Society

Showcasing African and African American culture through art and imports, performances and guided heritage tours.

The Hanover County Black Heritage Society, Inc.

114 N. Railroad Ave., Ashland

Promoting the history of African Americans in Hanover County and increasing public awareness and appreciation of Hanover’s legacy.


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