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Immerse yourself in Virginia's history by visiting one of our exhibitions.

 

The Story of Virginia
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Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality

Photo courtesy of Richmond Times-Dispatch.

"We are determined to be people."

-Martin Luther King, Jr. from the speech, I've Been to the Mountaintop, delivered on April 3, 1968 at Mason Temple, Memphis, Tennessee

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in British North America, Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality will examine the long history of black Americans as they have fought for freedom, equal justice, and access to opportunities. Their actions have pushed our nation ever closer to its ideal of universal equality. 

Through profiles of 30 individuals, more than 100 evocative objects, and multimedia interpretive content, Determined will explore:

  • the black experience in Virginia from 1619 to the present day;

  • the pivotal role black Americans have played in shaping America’s national identity and culture; and

  • the key Virginians and Virginia events that have defined the meaning of American democracy, equality, and justice.


Four Centuries of Determination

Determined examines the ways in which the arrival of enslaved Africans in 1619 shaped the United States that we know today. The exhibition is arranged in chronological sections: The Colonial Period; American Revolution through the Civil War; Reconstruction through World War II; and the Civil Rights Movement through today.

Historic African-American Figures
 


Determined Inspiration Wall

View examples to responses on the exhibition's interactive Inspiration Wall.


Arthur Ashe Boulevard & Determined Exhibition from VA Museum of History & Culture on Vimeo.

Associated Programming

  • Member Exhibition Preview & Reception of Determined – Thursday, June 20, 2019, at 2:00 or 5:00 pm. 

  • Ashe '68 Photo Exhibit – Saturday, June 15 through Sunday, July 7, 2019. 

  • Ashe '68 Virtual Reality Experience – Saturday, June 22 through Monday, September 2, 2019. 

  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard Dedication and Grand Opening of Groundbreaking Exhibition, Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality – Saturday, June 22, 2019, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please note: Admission to the museum is complimentary on this day for the exhibition opening day of Determined on June 22, 2019. Watch the highlights video.

  • Virginia Journeys member trip: Lynchburg: Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum and Lynchburg Museum at the Old Court House – Wednesday, June 26, 2019, from 7:30 am to 5:45 pm. 

  • Banner Lecture: "Virginia Waterways and the Underground Railroad" by Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander – Thursday, July 25, 2019, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Watch the video.

  • 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing: An Evening with Margot Lee Shetterly and Gladys West – Thursday, August 8, 2019, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. 

  • Virginia Journeys member trip: National Museum of African American History & Culture – Wednesday, August 21, 2019, from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. 

  • Banner Lecture: "Thurgood Marshall: A Life in American History" by Spencer R. Crew – Thursday, August 22, 2019, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Watch the video.

  • Banner Lecture: "Keep On Keeping On: The NAACP and the Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia" by Brian J. Daugherity – Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Learn more.

  • Banner Lecture: "Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth" by Kevin M. Levin – Tuesday, October 1, 2019 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Learn more.

  • Legacies of Emancipation with author Ta-Nehisi Coates – Friday, October 25, 2019 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Learn more.

  • Banner Lecture: "The Notorious History of the Virginia State Penitentiary" by Dale M. Brumfield – Wednesday, November 6, 2019 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Learn more.

  • Banner Lecture: "Gerrymanders: How Redistricting Has Protected Slavery, White Supremacy, and Partisan Minorities in Virginia" by Brent Tarter – Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Learn more.

  • Banner Lecture: "Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine" by Kelley Fanto Deetz – Thursday, February 27, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Learn more.


Connecting with Students, Teachers, and Families

Determined will be highlighted in a special family gallery guide, school tours, teacher resource packets, onsite and online teachers institutes, and other programming suitable for young people. There will also be a designated area for contemplation, study, and conversation. 


Advisory Committee

The committee consists of 12 scholars, museum professionals, and civic leaders who bring a diverse range of expertise on black American and Virginia history to the project. Learn more about the committee.


Presented by

 

 

 

A Legacy Project OF

 

 

Supporting SPonsor

 

 

 

Additional support provided by

Conrad and Peggy Hall
Mr. and Mrs. G. Gilmer Minor III

 

 

 

 

UNIVERSITY PARTNERS

University of Richmond
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia State University
Virginia Union University

Exhibition Information

From
Sat Jun 22 2019, 10:00amSun Mar 29 2020, 5:00pm
Open
10:00 am - 5:00 pm daily

Highlighted objects from Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality

Tobacco label for “Daniel’s Best Tobacco at Milend” Enter Fullscreen More information
Tobacco label for “Daniel’s Best Tobacco at Milend”
A tobacco label for “Daniel’s Best Tobacco at Milend” from the late 17th-18th century (Woodcut) (VMHC 2002.533.3.A-B)
James Armistead Lafayette Enter Fullscreen More information
James Armistead Lafayette
James Armistead Lafayette (with 1784 testimonial of the Marquis de Lafayette), ca. 1824. (Engraving) (VMHC 1993.215)
Slave wrist shackles Enter Fullscreen More information
Slave wrist shackles
Slave wrist shackles from the 17th-18th century (Iron) (VMHC 1997.89)
Token for African Colonization Society Enter Fullscreen More information
Token for African Colonization Society
Token for African Colonization Society from 1833 (Copper) (VMHC 2000.64)
"Slave Auction, Virginia" by Lefevre Cranstone Enter Fullscreen More information
"Slave Auction, Virginia" by Lefevre Cranstone
"Slave Auction, Virginia" by Lefevre Cranstone, 1861 (Oil on canvas) (VMHC 1991.70)
"Slave Hunt" by Thomas Moran Enter Fullscreen More information
"Slave Hunt" by Thomas Moran
"Slave Hunt" by Thomas Moran, ca. 1864 (Oil on canvas) (VMHC 2000.161)
Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute Enter Fullscreen More information
Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute
Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute, late 19th century (Engraving) (VMHC 1997.190)
Enter Fullscreen More information
Helmet of the Colored Knights of Pythias
Helmet of the Colored Knights of Pythias, late 19th century (Pith, leather, horsehair, and other materials) (VMHC 2013.67.A-B)
U.S. Marines Uniform, 1940s Enter Fullscreen More information
U.S. Marines Uniform, 1940s
U.S. Marines Uniform, worn by Sgt. Dimmiline Booth, Jr., 1943-46 (Wool and other materials) (VMHC 2002.397.1.A-C)
Bust of Oliver W. Hill by Paul di Pasquale Enter Fullscreen More information
Bust of Oliver W. Hill by Paul di Pasquale
Bust of Oliver W. Hill by Paul di Pasquale, ca. 2001 (Bronze) (VMHC 2007.141)
“NAACP Freedom Day—Remember May 17th” Brochure Enter Fullscreen More information
“NAACP Freedom Day—Remember May 17th” Brochure
“NAACP Freedom Day—Remember May 17th” Brochure, 1954 (VMHC 2003.234.5)
Arthur Ashe's tennis racket Enter Fullscreen More information
Arthur Ashe's tennis racket
Head Company, Tennis Racket—used by Arthur Ashe (Fiberglass and other materials) (VMHC 2005.326.1)
L. Douglas Wilder's boots, embossed with Seal of Virginia Enter Fullscreen More information
L. Douglas Wilder's boots, embossed with Seal of Virginia
Lucchese, Boots, embossed with Seal of Virginia—worn by L. Douglas Wilder, early 1990s (Leather) (VMHC 2014.40.A-B)
Tobacco label for “Daniel’s Best Tobacco at Milend”
Tobacco label for “Daniel’s Best Tobacco a
James Armistead Lafayette
James Armistead Lafayette
Slave wrist shackles
Slave wrist shackles
Token for African Colonization Society
Token for African Colonization Society
"Slave Auction, Virginia" by Lefevre Cranstone
"Slave Auction, Virginia" by Lef
"Slave Hunt" by Thomas Moran
"Slave Hunt" by Thomas Moran
Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute
Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute
Helmet of the Colored Knights of Pythias
U.S. Marines Uniform, 1940s
U.S. Marines Uniform, 1940s
Bust of Oliver W. Hill by Paul di Pasquale
Bust of Oliver W. Hill by Paul di Pasquale
“NAACP Freedom Day—Remember May 17th” Brochure
“NAACP Freedom Day—Remember May 17th” Broc
Arthur Ashe's tennis racket
Arthur Ashe's tennis racket
L. Douglas Wilder's boots, embossed with Seal of Virginia
L.

In the museum shop

Explores how African Americans and the NAACP in Virginia successfully pursued a legal agenda to provide new educational opportunities in the face of fierce opposition.
$45.00
Book cover of Keep on Keeping On
A captivating journey through time, this collection of provocative essays explores historical movements and cultural touchstones.
$15.99
Book cover of Defining Moments in Black History
The guide provides access to a diverse and significant set of more than 800 records that chronicle African American life in Virginia and the nation.
$5.00
Book cover of Guide to African American Manuscripts
Follows the interwoven accounts of four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes.
$15.99
Book cover of Hidden Figures
Explains how this iconic African American tennis player overcame racial and class barriers to reach the top of the tennis world in the 1960s and 1970s.
$34.95
Book cover of Arthur Ashe: Tennis and Justice in the Civil Rights Era