This February and March we are hosting programs across the county that explore Founding Era history through primary source documents, with the goal of bringing the community together in dialogue about social issues that persist to this day. The series will reexamine the early history of the United States focusing on the experiences of people of color.
Revisiting the Founding Era is a project exploring our nation’s roots through conversations and public programs in our community, supported by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the American Library Association. We are featuring local historians, authors, community members, and historical interpreters to guide us as we explore and reexamine primary documents from the 18th Century. Audience participation is invited, and copies of primary source documents will be available to you. Each program will feature prize drawings for books authored by our participants.
Tuesday, February 4, 7:00 pm
Author and historian Jon Kukla, Henrico County Recreation Manager and Historian Kim Sicola, author Gigi Amateau, and Meadow Farm Site Coordinator Julian Charity will begin our series of Revisiting the Founding Era programs. The panel will explore several letters and images connected to the Revolutionary War, sharing their expertise and giving context to the primary sources. Together with the audience, we hope to discuss the following questions: What can we learn from the ideas and actions of people from the Founding Era? What role did African Americans play in the course of the Revolutionary War, before, during, and after? What do the records they left behind tell us, and how can the past help us chart our future?
Wednesday, February 19, 7:00 pm
Join us in considering letters written by prominent figures from the Founding Era and their modern interpretations as we ask several fundamental questions: Given that people of color, especially African Americans, were excluded from participation in American government from the founding, how should we interpret the ideals and words of the founders? Is it possible to realize a fully democratic society with an 18th century Constitution? What do the records the people of the Founding Era left behind tell us, and how can the past help us chart our future?
Discuss these questions in small groups facilitated by local educators and historians, including: Mike Halsey, Secondary Social Studies Specialist, Henrico County Public Schools; Jackie Dondero, History Teacher, Deep Run High School; Joseph Rogers, Program Manager, American Civil War Museum; Ana Edwards, chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project; and Rodney Hall, Retired Teacher from Richmond Public Schools.
Untold RVA Presents: The General Gabriel Game Show
Thursday, March 5, 6:00 pm
Learn about General Gabriel and the history of black resistance in an interactive game-show with Free Egunfemi, founder and Executive Director of Untold RVA. In this fast-paced trivia game, you will be able to test your knowledge of local black history from the founding era to today. Participants can win a copy of Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, and The Black General Gabriel, local author Gigi Amateau's award-winning historical novel about General Gabriel's Rebellion.
We hope you will join us to engage critically with the history of our nation’s founding. Learn more about the Founding Era by visiting the Founding Fathers collection at Glen Allen Library, or ask to your local librarians for reading suggestions. You can also request a book list with My Next Read! Just fill out the form and let us know what you would like to learn more about.