Published June 12, 2020

On Friday, June 19, 2020, from Noon-1:00PM, the Virginia African American Cultural Resources (VAACR) Task Force will host Self Preservation, a Juneteenth online conversation on the state of Black historic preservation in Virginia. The live video event is open to the public. Free online registration is required at: VirginiaHumanities.org/self-preservation.

VAACR Task Force founding chair and Virginia Delegate Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond) will be joined by Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax, chair of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, Norfolk State University professor, and president of the Barrett-Peake Heritage Foundation in Hampton; and Niya Bates, historic preservationist and board member of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville.

The VAACR Task Force champions inclusive learning, community development, and economic opportunities through Black cultural landscape preservation in Virginia. It was unanimously established by the General Assembly in 2017 as a Virginia Humanities advisory group, and publicly launched in August 2018 at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton.

“We know the protection of Black lives and Black history is inextricably linked,” says Justin G. Reid, event moderator and the director of Community Initiatives at Virginia Humanities.

Of Virginia’s nearly 250,000 state-recorded historical sites and cultural resources, only 1 percent focus on the experiences of African Americans. The speakers at Self Preservation will discuss the existing challenges and the ways historic preservation can become more inclusive in Virginia and nationally.

About the VAACR Task Force

The Virginia African American Cultural Resources Task Force is a Virginia Humanities advisory coalition that supports community-driven and people-centered, Black historic preservation, with information and resource sharing, outreach, and education. In addition to the General Assembly and Virginia Humanities, the VAACR Task Force is comprised of several statewide nonprofits and state agencies, including Preservation Virginia, Virginia Africana Associates, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and Virginia Tourism Corporation, as well as representatives from Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia.

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

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