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VB City Council Discusses African-American Cultural Center

Virginia Beach Councilmember Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond recently outlined her goals and vision for the proposed African-American Cultural Center during a city council meeting on July 14.

Her presentation was broadcast live on VBTV Cox Cable channel 48, Verizon Cable channel 45, and on VBgov.com’s Media Center. It was rebroadcast on Cox channel 48 and Verizon channel 45 the following Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 9 a.m.; and Sunday at 9 a.m.

The proposed 25,000 square-foot, two-story building will be a “hub for African-American culture and a historic resource in the region,” Ross-Hammond said at the unveiling ceremony.

“There is a lot of history and culture we need to preserve and share with future generations,” she said. “This will bring a sense of pride to the community and showcase such traditions as storytelling, the spoken word, and arts and crafts unique to the culture. In the age of high technology, there is still a need to be grounded in the cultural values of elders.”

The proposal calls for the building to be constructed on 4.8 acres of city-owned land at Lake Edwards Park, surrounded by six of the 12 historically African-American neighborhoods in Virginia Beach – Newsome Farm, Lake Edwards, Burton Station, Reedtown, Grace Town and Lake Smith.

It will include collections, artifacts, a historic walking trail, outdoor event spaces, a gallery, a rotunda hall and multipurpose classrooms.

The unveiling ceremony followed various meetings with civic and business leaders. Managed by an executive board, a legal advisory board, and a community advisory board, the building would replicate the African Palaver Hut, a central gathering space for community celebrations, conflict resolutions, spiritual renewal, and include mentors for future generations.

Ross-Hammond said. “It will highlight the contributions of African-Americans to the region and establish an additional tourism asset for Virginia Beach. We will continue to seek public involvement throughout each phase of development.”

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For more information, please contact Councilmember Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond at (757) 646-1709 or ahammond@vbgov.com.

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