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Hampton Roads Community News

Black History Museum of Virginia Observes 40th Year With Special Exhibition

In observance of its 40th Anniversary, the Black History Museum of Virginia is displaying a special exhibition titled FORGING FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY. It will continue at the museum in Richmond through April 2023.

More than 100 photographs and artifacts are displayed from the museum’s files and private collections to present a journey in Black history and the quest for freedom, justice and equality through several centuries in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

The exhibition was curated by Elvatrice Parker Belsches, MA, an award winning public historian, author, archival researcher and filmmaker in the Richmond area. She is an alumna and former faculty member of Hampton University.

Belches divided the exhibition into six themes: Before Freedom Came; In My Father’s House; Tell Them We are Rising; The Business of Commerce, Organizations, and the Black Press; The Black Military Experience; and The Arts, Sports and Entertainment.

Highlights include a unique ledger nearly 180-years-old that speaks to the experience of free Blacks in Richmond, and a facsimile of the free papers of the first known Black graduate of the law school at Harvard University. Included also are stunning photographs of Black students at budding Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Virginia, taken by award-winning photographer George O. Brown and his descendants.

The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 122 West Leigh Street. For more information call 804-780-9093 or visit


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