Dawoud Bey: Elegy Bookstore Partnership

Discover the literary inspirations behind Dawoud Bey: Elegy at local bookstores.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has proudly partnered with five local bookstores in celebration of the exhibition Dawoud Bey: Elegy.

Each of Dawoud Bey’s photographic series featured in the exhibition have strong ties to literature.

  • Stony the Road (2023), commissioned by and making its debut at VMFA, takes viewers to Richmond’s historic trail where Africans arrived in bondage. The series title comes from lyrics to the “Black National Anthem” (also known as “Lift Every Voice and Sing”).
  • In This Here Place (2019), a title that quotes words from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, is a series that contemplates the plantations of Louisiana and the toils and horrors of enslavement.
  • Night Coming Tenderly, Black (2017), elucidates our understanding of the Underground Railroad and the perilous flight to self-emancipation in Ohio. This title echoes a line from “Dream Variations,” a poem by Langston Hughes.

Experience the exhibition and seek further inspiration and education at the following local bookstores. Each bookstore offers you a thoughtful selection of literary works inspired by artist Dawoud Bey’s photography and a chance to receive free tickets to the exhibition for your friends and family.

Participating Bookstores

Visit the following local bookstores to see their selections of literary works inspired by Dawoud Bey: Elegy.

The Book Bar is a Black-owned, woman-owned bookstore that centers BIPOC authors and brands in an effort to uplift and support a culture that is often silenced. The founder, Krystle, reimagined her bookstore as a space infused with culture, community, and a centering of Black authorship and storytelling.

Shelf Life Books is the largest independent bookstore in Richmond and has been serving the community for more than two decades. Located in the heart of Richmond’s Carytown and owned by Chris and Berkley McDaniel, the store is staffed by longtime patrons and is a hub for local authors and booklovers alike.

Resist Booksellers is a reader- and activist-focused bookstore based in historic Petersburg. Accomplished literacy advocate and entrepreneur Demetrius Frazier founded his bookstore with the belief that literacy is the greatest avenue toward societal growth and evolution.

Small Friend Records & Books is a woman-owned book and record store in Richmond with a focus on the radical, weird, and obscure. Previously located on 17th Street in the Shockoe Bottom area, they relocated to the corner of Lombardy and Main in the city’s Fan District in 2019.

Fountain Bookstore has served the Richmond metro area since 1978 as an independent, general, fullservice bookstore, offering more author programming than any other entity in the state of Virginia. They are activated by creating experiences of joy, discovery, laughter, and connection through authenticity and inclusivity.