Celebrating Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, VMFA is offering a trio of amazing events highlighting African-American culture in music, film, and literature.

Beauford Delaney, Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson (detail), 1965, Beauford Delaney

February is also the birthday month of iconic singer Marian Anderson, the first black person to ever perform at the renowned Metropolitan in New York City in 1955. This Wednesday, February 19th, join acclaimed soprano Dr. Lisa Edwards-Burrs and Dr. Sylvia Yount as they explore Anderson’s musical talent and celebrated legacy. The program begins in the Clairborne Roberts Room at 11am and will be followed by a live performance in the museum’s American Art Galleries. The event is free and requires no registration to attend.

On Thursday February 20th, join VMFA staff and other members of the community for the 24th annual African American Read-In, a national event celebrating African American literature through readings, poetry, and speeches. The event meets at the visitor service desk at 5pm, is free of charge and requires no prior registration to attend.

photo: Travis Fullerton   © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Prodigal Son (detail), Aaron Douglas

What would Black History Month be without an event dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr? An evening of music and cinema will pay tribute to Dr. King this Friday. King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (1970, 181 minutes, B&W), spanning 13 years from 1955 to 1968, is a monumental documentary that tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s rise from regional activist to world-respected leader of the Civil Rights movement. Created from archival footage, the film features heartfelt tributes by some of the greatest stars of the era. Rarely seen since 1970, the Academy Award-winning film has been restored by the Library of Congress, mastered in HD from the 35mm preservation negative, and will screen exclusively on Friday

Dr. King marches with Dr. Benjamin Spock and Monsignor Rice, Benedict J. Fernandez

Dr. King marches with Dr. Benjamin Spock and Monsignor Rice, Benedict J. Fernandez

February 21st. Prior to the film, Virginia Union University’s Concert Choir will perform a moving acappella tribute to Dr. King. The event spans from 6pm to 10pm and will take place in the Leslie Cheek Theater. Tickets are $5 for VMFA members, $8 for non-members, and can be purchased online here, or at the visitor services desk in the lobby.

Currently on view is Signs of Protest, a photography exhibition that represents the culture of resistance during the turbulent1960s. The photographs follow the evolution of protest from civil rights and black power to Vietnam War demonstrations and, in subsequent decades, rallies fighting South African apartheid.

 March on Washington, 1963 (detail), Bob Adelman

March on Washington, 1963 (detail), Bob Adelman