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There All Along

November 4, 2021 @ 6:30 pm 8:00 pm

In recent years, there has been a greater effort to expand the way we commemorate and teach the Civil War, by including the perspective of African Americans. But is there another way to deepen our understanding of America’s past — and its present? What can we gain by taking four hundred years of Black views on and aspirations for survival, freedom, and citizenship as a lens through which to re-examine the Civil War, rather than treating Black experience as an “add-on”?

Join us for this thought-provoking conversation between Ana Edwards of the American Civil War Museum; Mary Lauderdale of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia; Lois Leveen, a 2021 Virginia Humanities Fellow; and historian and author Elvatrice Belsches.

This program is in partnership with the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

Free for ACWM and BHMVA Members. Registration strongly encouraged.

ACWM Members: If you have not received a code, contact Michelle Ruggieri at [email protected].

Meet the Panelists

Ana Edwards is a public historian and supervisor of visitor engagement and interpretation at the American Civil War Museum where she contributed research and interpretive planning to two current exhibitions: Southern Ambitions and Contested Franchise. Since 2004, as chair of the Defenders’ Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project she has lectured, written articles and advocated to preserve and expand understanding of the early African and African American history of Richmond by helping lead the community effort to establish a nine-acre memorial park in Shockoe Bottom, the city’s founding neighborhood.

Mary Lauderdale is Operations and Visitor Services Manager of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia. She moved to Richmond, VA, from Philadelphia, PA, in 1995. She first learned about the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia after viewing a spot on the 12 o’clock news – the museum was looking for new volunteers. Two years later, she was offered a temporary position, and now it has been a 23-year labor of love. Mary has served as front line staff – chief docent, visitor and volunteer services, gift shop manager and operations manager. Mary is a founding member of Sisters of the Yam, an African American Quilters’ Guild, which has been meeting at the museum since the guild’s formation in 2001.

Lois Leveen is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Secrets of Mary Bowser. She is currently a Virginia Humanities Fellow at the Library of Virginia, where she is researching the first book-length biography of the real figure who inspired the novel. A former faculty member at UCLA and Reed College, she frequently leads programs at museums and other cultural institutions, and has written about race and American history for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, BlackPast.Org, and many other publications.

Elvatrice Belsches is a public historian, archival researcher, presenter and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of “Black America Series: Richmond, Virginia” (Arcadia Publishing); several biographical entries for the “African American National Biography” (Oxford University Press); and the three-part series, “When Freedom Came” for the Richmond Free Press, which was recognized as runner-up for the Journalistic Integrity and Community Service Award by the Virginia Press Association in 2016.

Belsches also served as an in-studio researcher on Steven Spielberg’s motion picture “Lincoln” in 2011 and her contributions can be seen in the film. She is a 2020 recipient of a Virginia Humanities grant towards her documentary on noted educator Miss Virginia Estelle Randolph.

480 Tredegar St.
Richmond, Virginia 23219 United States