An accessible, single-volume, highly visual history that tells the remarkable story of four centuries of Black history in Virginia. Intended for general audiences, this publication presents a concise overview of four centuries of Black history in Virginia – from the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619, through slavery and emancipation, segregation and the Civil Rights Movement, the election of the first Black President and present-day racial justice activism. Across these four centuries, Black Virginians have fought against various forms of oppression and, in the process, have brought about meaningful changes in American society. Their efforts have pushed our nation closer to its ideal of universal equality, yet America still struggles with widespread iniquities and systemic racism rooted in the long legacy of slavery and racial discrimination. Determined presents a chronological survey of this history through the stories of thirty five key individuals and events in Virginia that shaped the fight for Black equity. Although focused on Virginia, this is very much an American story, not only because Black people have shaped America’s economic, political, and cultural identity, but also because Virginia has played a formative and central role in national race relations. Determined fills a great need for an accessible, responsible, comprehensive, and current publication about the history of race and racism in the Commonwealth since 1619. This need is particularly urgent given the events of 2020 which have prompted a national reckoning with our long history of systemic racism. Determined will foster a greater understanding of how we got to this moment, while also providing inspiration for how to make change and move our nation ever-closer to its ideal of universal equality. AUTHOR: Dr. Karen Sherry is a curator specializing in American history and material culture with 20 years of museum experience.
Authors: Karen A. Sherry