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Published April 12, 2021

Charlottesville, Virginia— Virginia Humanities and City of Promise have teamed up to create a children’s book that honors the Westhaven community. Written by local author Marc Boston and illustrated by Ariel Mendez, the story follows the adventures of a boy who dreams about his future and does good deeds in the neighborhood.

The project is a collaborative effort of the two nonprofits and coincides with Virginia Humanities’ move to Dairy Central, located in the 10th & Page Neighborhood, later this spring. The new, downtown location will enhance accessibility and community engagement, allowing the public to more easily attend grant workshops, talks by authors and visiting speakers, and more. (More info: VirginiaHumanities.org/dairy-central)

“We envision ongoing opportunities to amplify important stories that highlight the history and people of this community,” says Virginia Humanities’ executive director Matthew Gibson. “In that spirit, the book includes a foreword that acknowledges the destruction of Vinegar Hill, the historically Black neighborhood that was razed by the city in 1965, written in rhyme and crafted in a way that children can understand.”

In partnering with City of Promise, Virginia Humanities seeks to offer itself as a collaborative and inclusive resource within reach of community members in the 10th & Page, Westhaven, and Starr Hill neighborhoods. Located just blocks from the new Virginia Humanities headquarters, City of Promise leads a coalition of parents, youth, schools, and service providers in creating a culture of achievement within the neighborhood footprint. Marc Boston’s book is a model of the creative and colorful forms this endeavor can assume.

The book is made possible thanks to a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is slated for distribution at the end of June. When available, details on how to obtain a copy will be provided at VirginiaHumanities.org.


About Virginia Humanities

Virginia Humanities is the state humanities council. We aim to share the stories of all Virginians—or, better yet, find ways for people to share their own stories. We want Virginians to connect with their history and culture and, in doing that, we hope we’ll all get to know each other a little better. Virginia Humanities is headquartered in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, but our work covers the Commonwealth. Founded in 1974, we are one of fifty-six organizations created by the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans.

About City of Promise

City of Promise is the result of several interrelated efforts that over the course of ten years have resulted in our current pathway of support for children and families. Our mission is to end generational poverty, and to foster a culture of achievement in which all children in our community graduate from high school, ready for college or career. We accomplish this through partnerships with our parents, neighbors, organizations, schools and community. Learn more at cityofpromise.org.

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.

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.

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