428 North Boulevard
Richmond, Virginia 23220

Phone: (804) 342-9698


Ph.D., American History, University of Virginia, 2002, Crucible in the Classroom: The Freedpeople and their Teachers, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1861-1876.  Dissertation director, Edward Ayers

M.A., American History, Virginia State University, 1993, More Than an Image: Black Women Reformers in Richmond, Virginia, 1910-1928.  Thesis director, Edgar Toppin

B.A., Communications, Mundelein College (now Loyola University), 1985

Kenyon College, fundamentals workshop in oral history, June 2004

University of California, Berkeley, advanced workshop in oral history, August 2004

Oral History Association, fellowship recipient, September 2004


Essay, “1865-1875 ‘Reaching out for Something Better’: The Jefferson School’s Founding Years,” in Pride Overcomes Prejudice, A History of Charlottesville’s African American School (Jefferson School African American Heritage Center), 2013

Editorial, “To Bind up the Nation’s Wounds”, Richmond Times Dispatch, April 8, 2012, co-authored with Edward Ayers

Monograph, Making the American Dream Work: A Cultural History of African Americans in Hopewell, Virginia (commissioned by Hopewell City Council), 2008

Entry, “Edna Meade Colson”, Dictionary of Virginia Biography, April 2006

Book review, “John Vlach, The Planter’s Prospect:  Privilege and Slavery in Plantation

Paintings,” Journal of Southern History, November 2004

Essay, “A Strong Partnership:  Reflections and Memories,” Footsteps Magazine, February 2004

Book Review, “Ethel Morgan Smith, From When Cometh My Help:  The African American Community at Hollins College,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 2000


Guest Curator:  Belmead/FrancisEmma, Enslavement at  Belmead, February 2016; Sweet Briar College, Roots, Restoration, and Remembrances, Interpretation of the Sweet Briar Slave Cabin; Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, Woman Adorned:  Transcending Time, Transforming Culture, November 2013 – November 2014; Legacy Museum in Lynchburg, Celebrating Community:  The Legacy Museum’s First Ten Years, 2010-2012

Founding curator of African American history,
Virginia Historical Society
January 2001-present:

2010 – present, project leader, historian, and community outreach coordinator for Unknown No Longer: A Virginia Slave Name Database, a digital genealogy project.

2006-07, co-coordinator with VHS education department of a digital history project with the Richmond Chapter of the Links entitled Linking to our Past, Documenting the African American Experience in Virginia (online)

2004-2010, liaison to the Department of Historic Resources on the diversity committee for the historic highway marker program and the editorial review board

Ongoing: conceptualize and research exhibitions, conduct gallery walks, build the African American museum and archival collections, represent VHS at public events, interact with various departments on institutional projects; extensive community outreach

Curator of the following exhibitions at the Virginia Historical Society:

Persona and Perception: Presidential Campaigns, upcoming August 2016

Looking Good:  Fashion in Virginia, 1930-1970, December 2015- May 2016

Charles Joseph Hoffbauer, A Painter of Historical Murals, May 2015 – present

Toys from another Time, A Few of our Favorite Things, September, 2014 – present

Revolutions, Songs of Social Change, 1860-’65 and 1960-’65, co-curator with Andrew Talkov, June, 2013-Jan 2014

The African American Image in Virginia, February 2009-Janaury 2010

Sites and Stories:  African American History in Virginia, Feb.-July 2008

Looking Back:  The Jamestown Negro Exhibit of 1907, July-September 2007

Safely Harbored:  New African American Acquisitions, Feb.2006-August 2006

Children of Hope:  African American Childhood in Virginia, Jan. 2005-June 2005

The Civil Rights Movement in Virginia, Feb. 2004-June 2004 (also travelling and online)

A Dream Deferred:  World War II and the Black Experience, Dec. 2002-March 2003

Enslaved:  African Americans on Virginia’s Presidential Plantations, Oct. 2002-Jan. 03

Reading the Word:  The Church and African American Education, June-September 2001

Maymont House,
community outreach coordinator, June 1999-December 2000; with a planning grant from NEH, researched, planned, and publicized a new interpretive exhibition In Service and Beyond:  Domestic Work and Life in a Gilded Age Mansion. 

Old Dominion University, full-time instructor, fall 1997-May 1999; taught American Survey, African American Studies and African American Women’s History.

Monticello Plantation, intern, spring 1996; interpreted African-American plantation life in a 45-minute walking tour; introduced the experiences of African American women.

Old Dominion University, adjunct instructor, fall 1995, taught three sections of the survey course American Civilization in a World Setting. 

The Library of Virginia, circuit court records intern, 1994; inventoried the papers on free blacks, compiled a legislative state history of free blacks, developed preliminary finding aid on collections; presented research findings at a Library of Virginia seminar.

The Virginia Historical Society, first intern sponsored by Philip Morris, Inc., 1992-93;  surveyed the Society’s artifacts and manuscripts to help develop an interpretive strategy for the accurate depiction of African-Americans’ roles in shaping Virginia’s history; conducted preliminary research on Away I’m Bound Away:  Virginia and the Westward Bound Movement and the permanent Virginia exhibition.

Virginia State University, research assistant for Dr. Edgar Toppin on Loyal Sons and Daughters:  Virginia State University, 1882-1992, 1991-92.  Located and verified primary and secondary sources, compiled information, proofed copy, and typed drafts.

Chesterfield County Public Schools, Virginia, substitute teacher, 1998-91; taught history and social studies to students in grades 5-12.


University of Richmond, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, spring, 2016, Public Lives, Personal Narratives, Persona

John Tyler Community College, African American Survey, fall 2015

University of Richmond, School of Arts and Sciences, Fashion, Race, and Women’s History, fall 2015

University of Richmond, School for Professional and Continuing Studies, Introduction to Public History, summer 2015

John Tyler Community College, Interpreting the Civil Rights Movement, summer 2015

University of Richmond, Osher Institute, Beauty in African American Visual Culture, spring 2014

University of Richmond, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, fall 2013, fall 2014, Leadership and the Humanities

University of Richmond, School of Professional and Continuing Studies, fall 2012 and spring 2013, Richmond’s Women: the Civil War and Emancipation Era

Virginia Union University, adjunct, spring 2007 – spring, 2011, Af-Am History

Virginia Commonwealth University, adjunct, fall 2006 – fall 2010

African American Women from Slavery to the Present, the African American Family

Virginia Commonwealth University, adjunct, spring 2006: The Politics of the Civil Rights Movement

Old Dominion University, full-time instructor, fall 1997-May 1999, American Survey, African American Studies; African American Women’s history.

Old Dominion University, adjunct instructor, fall 1995, three sections of the survey course American Civilization in a World Setting.


  • Consultant, Virginia Tech, interpreting the slave cabin called Solitude, 2015
  • Consultant and curator, Sweet Briar College, interpreting the slave cabin, 2013
  • Consultant, Valentine, Richmond History Center long-term exhibit, ongoing
  • Consultant, Carver Price Museum in Appomattox County, Virginia, 2010, 2011
  • City of Hopewell, African American oral history project and book:  Making the American Dream Work:  African American History in Hopewell Virginia, June 2008
  • Consultant, Teaching American History federal grant: Chesterfield, Charlottesville, Richmond, Roanoke and Tusculum Institute at Sweet Briar College, ongoing
  • Consultant, Voices of Freedom, VCU Libraries Digital Collections, 2003
  • Teacher, one Saturday a month teaching black history to six-graders in the federally funded program, TRIO/Talent Search (2002-2005)
  • Legacy Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia, consultant and/or guest curator on various exhibitions re: African-American culture and history, ongoing
  • Lynchburg, consultant on Duigiud Burial Records project, 2008; Tinbridge Hill Community oral history project, 2010-2011
  • Consultant to Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church and St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, ongoing


Commentator, The Battle of New Market Heights, Nov. 2014, Henrico Public TV

Commentator, The Arthur Ashe Story, June 2014, Henrico Public Television

Commentator, Elizabeth Van Lew, May 2013, WTVR

Commentator, Unknown No Longer, a Virginia Slave Name Database, 2012, CNN

Commentator, 400th Anniversary of Henrico County, Virginia Estelle Randolph, 2009, Henrico Public television

Commentator, Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, 2009, University of Richmond

Commentator, The Betty Ann Kilby Story, 2008, Shenandoah U. and public television

Commentator, Liberty or Death, 2007, St. John’s Foundation and public television

Commentator, Richmond’s Slave Trade:  Breaking the Chains of Silence, WTVR, 2004

Commentator, East of the Blue Ridge, The James River, 2003 Community Idea Stations

Commentator, “Our Inspiration” The Story of Maggie Lena Walker, 1998 Public TV


Virginia Voice, Unknown No Longer:  A Database of Virginia Slave Names (2015)

What Works radio Virginia (2013)

Virginia Voice, “Lauranett Lee, What’s Your Story?” (2012)

WLEE 990 AM with Jack Gravely, Richmond’s African American History (2009)

WCVE Public Radio, Richmond, Gallery with John Porter (2005)

WCVE, Appalachian Women traveling exhibition (2001)

WCVE, Reading the Word exhibition (2001)

WCVE, World War II exhibition (2002)

Live with Nancy King, WINA Charlottesville, Philena Carkin and Charlottesville during the Reconstruction Era (1998), dissertation topic


  • Fellowship, Oral History Association, 2004
  • Staff Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society, 2003 and 2004
  • University of Virginia, Corcoran History Department Fellowship, 1999
  • Boston Public Library, Alicia Monti Fellowship, 1998
  • Massachusetts Historical Society, Mellon Fellowship, 1997
  • University of Virginia, Graduate History Fellowship, 1996-97
  • National Historic Publications and Records Commission, Documentary Editing Institute Internship, 1995
  • University of Virginia, Corcoran History Department, recipient of travel funds, 1994 and 1995
  • Association of Black Women Historians and Black Classic Press, Drusilla Dunjee Houston Award, 1994
  • State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Commonwealth Fellowship for doctoral studies, 1993-94, 1994-95


Virginia History Day, judge, high school group web projects, 2016

2019 commemoration, First Africans to English North America, program committee,
December 2015 – current

Capital Square Preservation Council, September 2015 – current

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, board member, July 2015 – current

Department of Education, K-12 History and Social Science Standards of Learning Curriculum Framework External Review Committee, 2015

Board of Trustees, Emancipation Monument, M.L. King Commission, July 2015 -current

National Historical Publications and Records Commission, grants evaluator, 2015

2015 Osher Institute, University of Richmond, adjunct faculty, April 2014

Dominion Power’s Strong Men and Women Selection Committee, April 2014

Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission, April 2014

Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the American War of 1812, 2013 to present

Ministering to Ministers Foundation, Inc., Advisory board and historian, 2011 to present

The George Washington Foundation, advisory board member, 2011 to present

Virginia Africana (a network of museums and historic sites), steering committee, 2010-2011 and advisory council, 2012-to present L. King Commission and Lincoln Bicentennial Subcommittee, 2009-present

Citizens’ Advisory Council on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion, member and historian, 2010- present

African American Study Group, Fort Monroe, Historic Preservation Advisory Group;

Chair, 2008-2009; member, Historic Preservation advisory group, 2008-2010; advisory board member, 2012-present

President, National Park Service, Mid-Atlantic Council, 2008 – 2010

State Review Board, Department of Historic Resources, 2006; vice chair 2008-December 2015

ArtsFund, Standards and Allocations committee, 2006-2008

Maymont African American History Interpretation Advisory Committee, 1994

Literary Awards, Library of Virginia, adjudication committee, 2007, ‘08, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14

Virginia Civil Rights Video Initiative, board member, 2004 to July 2015

Past historian, First Baptist Church Midlothian; St. Paul Baptist Church; current historian, Metropolitan Community Church, Richmond

Member, National Council on Public History

Charter member, National Museum of African American History and Culture