Published December 17, 2020

This webinar presents Commission Chair, Dr. Cassandra Newby Alexander and Co-chairs; Dr. Rosa Atkins and Dr. Derrick P. Alridge of Governor Northam’s  Virginia Commission on African American History Education in the Commonwealth for special insight on the development of this groundbreaking report.

The Commission members are in conversation with Virginia Africana Associates historian Dr. Lauranett Lee about the impact of the report for the interpretation of African American History in Virginia.

Virginia Africana

This event is co-hosted by Virginia Africana Associates and Virginia Humanities.


Derrick P. Alridge
Dr. Derrick P. Alridge

Dr. Derrick P. Alridge is the Philip J. Gibson Professor of Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia.

An educational and intellectual historian, Alridge’s work examines American education with foci in African American education and the civil rights movement.

Dr. Rosa Atkins

Dr. Rosa Atkins is Superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, a division that serves economically, ethnically, and racially diverse students in nine schools. During Dr. Atkins’ tenure, Charlottesville City Schools has become one of the top performing school divisions in the state with an on time graduation rate of 95.7%  and one of the best Advanced Placement programs in the area. In 2011, she was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. In 2015-16, she served as President of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Dr. Atkins was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and invited to the American Association of School Administrators’ Digital Consortium at the White House. In October 2016, Dr. Atkins was named as one of two national finalists for the Women in School Leadership Award for Superintendents, presented annually by the School Superintendents Association (AASA) in cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In June 2017, Governor McAuliffe appointed Dr. Atkins to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), where she serves as Vice-Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.  In October 2017, Governor McAuliffe appointed Dr. Atkins to the Commonwealth Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In August 2019, Governor Northam appointed Dr. Atkins to the Commission on African American History Education. Dr. Atkins is an alumna of Virginia State University and Virginia Tech. 

Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander

Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Norfolk State University where she is also a Professor of History and Director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies.  She earned her BA in American Government and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and her PhD in American History from the College of William and Mary in 1992. She was the project director of the 1619 Conference Series, served in various academic and civic roles, received numerous grants, consulted with community groups and published extensively.  Most recently she co-chaired the Governor’s Commission on African American History Education in the Commonwealth.  Dr. Newby-Alexander has a passion for history and for educating the public about our real history. 

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.