Virginia’s historic Black watermen communities are endangered

BY: - May 22, 2023

Most days, James Douglas would be on the water by 5:30 in the morning, on the hunt for oysters. He’d push off in his small boat from his family’s wharf on the Yeocomico River in Westmoreland County, the birthplace of the nation’s first president, George Washington, and, since 1824, of Douglas’ family, the Wilsons. Douglas’ […]

Researchers unearth century-old documents in Virginia Beach lynching

BY: - May 15, 2023

After the Virginia Mercury’s two–part investigative series into the 1885 lynching of Noah Cherry in what is now Virginia Beach, staffers at the Library of Virginia in Richmond searched archives and discovered a variety of documents, including the coroner’s inquest about Cherry’s death, which hasn’t been seen publicly since the late 19th century. In a […]


By trying to demolish DEI initiatives, Va. Republicans dig in on history’s wrong side

BY: - May 8, 2023

It’s a drumbeat these days in the party of Big MAGA: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is something to be despised, defeated and destroyed. In the past couple of weeks, Virginia’s most powerful Republicans have joined the parade by pandering in a legislative election year to the GOP’s white, anti-DEI base. First, the state’s chief […]

Some Virginia newspapers powered political disenfranchisement, brutalization of Black people

BY: - May 3, 2023

When 10-year-old Alice Powell was mysteriously killed in 1885, the Norfolk Virginian and the Richmond Dispatch put together a timeline of her murder, which they blamed on Noah Cherry, a Black man who was lynched soon after the newspapers published the story. But the timelines didn’t agree with each other, or with the county’s death […]

New information in 138-year-old Virginia Beach lynching shatters state’s genteel veneer

BY: - May 2, 2023

According to a news story, Medora Alice Powell was singing a Christian hymn, “The Sweet By-and-By,” as the 10-year-old girl left for school early in the morning on Friday the 13th of November in 1885. She took a solitary path through a portion of the rural area then known as Princess Anne County where Holland […]


Irvo Otieno is gone; how many more Black people must die before real change comes?

BY: - March 31, 2023

Within the cavernous sanctuary of First Baptist Church of South Richmond on Wednesday, hundreds of mourners viewed a vignette of Irvo Otieno’s brief life. Photos and videos showed him sporting a wide grin alongside classmates and football buddies. His rich baritone voice rapped lyrics to a song he’d written about his love for his family. […]


In Hanover, a name is more than a name

BY: - March 20, 2023

It took years of community outcry, the urging of a governor, being sued by the NAACP and national media scrutiny for the Hanover County School Board to finally be shamed into voting to remove the names of Confederate treasonists from two schools’ monikers in 2020. Now, this same board is proposing that the one school […]


Once a dead end, a Richmond cemetery earns new respect

BY: - January 30, 2023

On Jan. 20, the federal government reopened historic review of the 123-mile Washington, DC to Richmond (DC2RVA) segment of the proposed Southeast High-Speed Rail project, which when complete will increase intercity passenger rail travel throughout the southeast region. Initially, the railway was planned to be built through one of the largest cemeteries for enslaved people […]


New monuments must mean more than memorialization

BY: - January 16, 2023

Soon, statues of Barbara Johns and Henrietta Lacks – two Black, Virginia-born women who contributed to significant educational and scientific progress in America – will be erected, one in Roanoke and the other in the U.S. Capitol. These new figures emerge after the eviction of the Confederate warmongers memorialized in metal that used to tower […]

At this Virginia agency, bones of the dead are people in need of homes

BY: - December 6, 2022

Elizabeth Moore and Joanna Wilson Green are kind to their guests – even though these companions are very old and very dead.  Moore and Green, state-employed archaeologists, tend to Virginia’s homeless human remains, typically bones and pieces of bones.  To Moore and Green, these bones aren’t artifacts. They are human beings. Guests. People who need […]

Confronting history, Congress studies addition of lynching sites to national park system

BY: - September 12, 2022

The U.S. House is considering a bill that would put lynching sites in western Tennessee on track to become part of the National Park Service, part of a trend this year of Congress using the agency to advance discussions of the nation’s troubled and often violent racial history. A bill from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a […]

No more Confederate flags at Hollywood Cemetery

BY: - July 12, 2022

Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, a longtime shrine of the South and home to thousands of Confederate graves, has quietly banned the flying of Confederate flags. Visitors first noticed the absence of the flags in summer 2020, when anti-racism protests rocking Richmond and much of the U.S. often targeted rebel symbols. Two people familiar with the […]