The Board of Directors of Baptist News Global
invites you to participate with our board and executive director
in an educational event this September in Virginia
Conversations that matter:
Exploring the hidden history of racism in America
September 13-15, 2021
Monday, Sept. 13
Kickoff dinner at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Richmond with keynote address by Adam Bond, senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in downtown Richmond, founded by free men and slaves in 1857. Dr. Bond previously served on the staff of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin and has taught at Mount Mary University, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University, and Virginia Theological Seminary. He is currently working on a history of African American Baptists titled Read the Text First: Black Baptist Leaders, Race Literature, and the Salvation of America.
Tuesday, Sept. 14
Breakfast gathering at hotel with keynote address by Dontrese Brown, executive director for the EDGE Center for Career Development at Randolph-Macon College and co-founder of Hidden in Plain Site.
Driving and walking tour with Hidden in Plain Site, led by Dontrese Brown. By traveling through time and around Richmond we will see examples of history not marked by monuments, of a Black experience that exists around corners and at times under your feet. The sites with the most pain are the most hidden, the most buried. Our goal will be to change how we see the city and learn from sites that are hidden in plain sight.
Group lunch with informal dialogue
Visit to St. John’s Church for a different view of American history. This is where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other Colonial leaders met and — swayed by Patrick Henry’s “liberty or death” speech — made a decision that changed the course of American history. At St. John’s the American Revolution found its voice, but what is the untold story of how this affected the many non-white residents of the region?
Visit and guest lecture at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. We’ll be hosted by Valerie Cassel Oliver, who is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the museum. She will explain to us the significance of the permanent installation titled “Rumors of War” by Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for repositioning Black youth within the classical European tradition of power and status. As a direct response to the Confederate statues of Monument Avenue in Richmond, this statue takes inspiration from the statue of Confederate Army General James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart created by Frederick Moynihan in 1907. As with the original sculpture, the rider strikes a heroic pose while sitting upon a muscular horse. However, in Wiley’s sculpture, the figure is a young African American dressed in urban streetwear. We’ll also have time to explore the museum after the lecture.
Dinner and keynote address nearby. Our speaker will be BK Fulton, former president of Verizon who now is a filmmaker and entrepreneur based in Richmond. He currently serves as chairman of Soulidifly, a media, TV, stage and print media and investment company whose purpose is to “add to the narrative of stories that inspire and uplift humanity.” He and his company have produced nine films and have a theatrical production, “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” opening on Broadway this fall.
Wednesday, Sept. 15
Visit to First Baptist Church of Williamsburg inside Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg has partnered with First Baptist Church of Williamsburg and the Let Freedom Ring Foundation to locate the remains of the Nassau Street site of the First Baptist Church. First Baptist Church of Williamsburg is one of the country’s earliest African American congregations and was founded by free and enslaved Black worshippers. In the first phase of excavation, the team located the foundation of the 1856 church, along with the remains of an earlier building. In the current second phase of excavation, the team encountered human remains and, with guidance from the church, determined to keep working to better understand this important part of early American history.
Lunch at Shields Tavern, Colonial Williamsburg
Afternoon narrated walking tour of Colonial Williamsburg focused on our areas of interest.
Group dinner at Williamsburg Lodge with dialogue about what we’ve seen, heard and learned.
Options to participate:
You are invited to engage with this event in several possible ways.
- The first option is to take in the whole three-day event, including lodging provided at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Richmond and Williamsburg Lodge inside Colonial Williamsburg.
- We also offer a day pass for participants who live nearby and want a “program only” option without lodging.