Colonial Williamsburg to commemorate Black History Month with virtual programs


Courtesy – Colonial Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Colonial Williamsburg is inviting residents to commemorate Black History Month in February with a range of research, interpretation, and other programming examining the lives of enslaved and free early Black Americans.

“CW Conversation: Residents Not Citizens” streams live at 4 p.m. eastern time Feb. 20 at and on Colonial Williamsburg’s Facebook page.

Scheduled participants include former City Council member Bobby Braxton, Colonial Williamsburg interpreter and supervisor and longtime generational city resident Janice Canaday, and attorney and former York-James City-Williamsburg NAACP Branch President Brian J. Smalls.

“US: Past, Present Future” kicked off Jan. 16 as a national conversation series exploring the vital intersection of current events, our shared history, and the enduring promises of America.

As it does every February, during Black History Month Colonial Williamsburg will showcase its year-round character interpretation and programming examining the real stories of the enslaved and free Black people of the 18th century. 

Programs are offered at 1:30 p.m. daily in the Hennage Auditorium at the Art Museums including “Nation Builders Discuss the Institution of Slavery” and “Across the Board,” examining the relationship between a young Thomas Jefferson and his enslaved manservant Jupiter. Historic Site interpretation includes “Freedom’s Paradox” at the Peyton Randolph House.

At the Art Museums, guests are invited to take the self-guided tour “By African American Hands.” The tour showcases objects crafted by Black artists and artisans including pottery by David Drake of South Carolina and an armchair attributed to the joinery at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello between 1790 and 1815, a period in which enslaved Black craftsman John Hemings worked in and later led the shop.

Other Black History Month programs at the Art Museums include special “Expert Insights” Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. throughout February and “A Quilter’s Housetop,” at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays, in which guests celebrate the life of Alabama quilter Susana Allen Hunter and then make a mini-quilt to take home.

The Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center is currently closed to guests for use as a temporary regional COVID-19 vaccination center, and will remain closed to guests until it is no longer needed for this important initiative.

During this time, we encourage guests to park for free in the Art Museum of Colonial Williamsburg lot located at South Nassau Street and Newport Avenue next to Bicentennial Park.

The Art Museums building, located at 301 S. Nassau St., will open its doors at 9:15 a.m. daily to for access to its ticket office and restrooms prior to the Art Museums’ regular 10 a.m. opening. The Museum Café will also be open during this time to serve guests. Colonial Williamsburg ticket services remain available 9:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. daily in the Historic Area at the Lumber House on the south side of Duke of Gloucester Street near the foot of Palace Green.

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