Photo: David Stover © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Cost: Free; no tickets required

National African American Read-In 2018

Thu, Feb 22, 4-7pm

Meet at Visitor Services

Celebrate Black History Month! As a part of the 28th annual National African American Read-In, leaders from the community share African and African American literature related to works in the permanent collection.

The VMFA Library will also be open on this night for extended hours with works from the archives relating to the artist Chester Higgins and P.H. Polk, whose work is currently on view in the exhibition, Like a Study in Black History: P. H. Polk, Chester Higgins and The Black Photographers Annual, Volume 2

New this year! Children, and their families, are invited to join us for an hour of artwork, gallery activities and children’s stories by African and African American artists and authors (intended audience 2 1/2–8 years of age).

Click on the time tabs below to view featured works, readings, and readers.

The following works will be highlighted from 4–5 pm for Family Hour:


The Guitarist, Charles White, ca. 1959
American Galleries, Mid-20th Century

“Max Found Two Sticks” by Brian Pinkney

Ami Dowden-Fant | Artistic Director/Owner, River City Dance & Performing Arts Theatre

Chasers, Purpled
Chasers, Purpled, Sam Gilliam, 1980
Mid to Late 20th Century Galleries

“Beautiful Blackbird” by Ashley Bryan

Anthony Bryant | Owner, Little Nomad Shop


ibala leSindebele (Ndebele Design), Esther Mahlangu 2014
Evans Court, African Galleries

“My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken” by Maya Angelou

Suzanne Mallory-Parker | Program Director, Turnaround Arts, Richmond Public Schools

The following works will be highlighted from 5–7 pm:



Untitled, Dumile Feni (1980s)
African Galleries, Level 2

Seaparankoe by Keorapetse Kgositsile and Somehow We Survive by Dennis Brutus

Hamilton Glass | Professional Artist
Taekia Glass | Program Director, ART 180
Yewande Austin | President, Global Institute for Diversity and Change


Red Figure Head Vase in the Shape of a Nubian, Artist Unknown (350-320 BC)
Ancient Galleries, Level 2

Ode to a Grecian Urn by John Keats and To John Keats, a Poet, at Springtime by Countee Cullen

Kelli Lemon | Social Influencer and Host, Coffee with Strangers Podcast
Dr. Brandi Thompson Summers | Assistant Professor, African American Studies, VCU


Double-Handed Jug, David Drake (1840)
American Galleries, Level 2

My Pen by Frank Addison Mowig Philom (Rochester, NY), published in Frederick Douglass’ Paper, February 5, 1852

Toria Edmonds Howell | Program Manager Mayor’s Youth Academy
Students from Mayor’s Youth Academy
Students from Armstrong Leadership Program

Chasers, Purpled

Chasers, Purpled, Sam Gilliam, 1980
Mid to Late 20th Century Galleries

I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander

Colonel Alfred Durham | Chief of Police, Richmond Police Department
Michael Herring | Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Richmond
Dr. Betty Crutcher | Presidential Spouse, University of Richmond & Cross-Cultural Mentoring Consultant


Overstood, Sanford Biggers (2017)
21st century Galleries, Level 2

To The Diaspora by Gwendolyn Brooks and Wise I by Amiri Baraka

Levar Stoney | Mayor, City of Richmond
Melody Barnes | Co-Founder & Principal, MB2 Solutions LLC & Distinguished Fellow, University of Virginia School of Law
Marland Buckner | Co-Founder & Principal, MB2 Solutions LLC, Entrepreneur, & Board of Directors, Communities in Schools, Richmond
Dr. Bertram Ashe | Professor of English, University of Richmond

What is African American Read-In?

During the month of February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting an African American Read-In. Sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and NCTE, and endorsed by the International Literacy Association, the goal the Read-In is to document readers making a celebration of African American literacy.