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VMHC Announces New Publication in Celebration of Juneteenth

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) announces a new book that will be launched in honor of Juneteenth. Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality builds on the museum’s groundbreaking exhibition mounted as part of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration. The book follows the form and themes of the exhibition, and it includes a wealth of expanded content for readers. It addresses the need for a greater understanding of systemic racism in America through a concise and accessible survey of Black history in Virginia, from the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619 to the groundswell of racial justice protests in 2020. Highlighting key individuals and events, this lavishly illustrated story showcases the profound impact that the fight for Black equality has had on our nation and its democratic ideals.

“We felt the need to create this book to expand on the stories introduced in the exhibition and make them available for a larger audience,” said VMHC Curator and author of the book Dr. Karen Sherry. “In the past year, the dual crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests that arose owing to the death of George Floyd brought us to a point of a national reckoning on race. The VMHC felt that this publication could help foster a greater understanding of past racial inequities and open new lines of communication. The museum is uniquely situated to play a role in these conversations. Not only is the museum one of the oldest historical institutions in this nation, it is the institution responsible for collecting, preserving, and interpreting Virginia’s long and complex story.”

Dr. Grady Powell, longtime Civil Rights activist, former Pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church, the oldest Black church in Virginia, and former Trustee of the museum, authored the forward of the book. “In this book, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture illuminates the past, sees the images, and hears the stories and sounds,” said Dr. Powell. “As one who has lived for more than three-quarters of a century I can assure readers that this expansive work will help to fill those missing pages in the schoolbooks of my youth. I see this book as a luminous and prophetic lighthouse for present and future generations. The content brings light to the stormy and treacherous seas of America’s original sin with historical honesty.”

Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality is available for purchase from the museum’s store at


Gary Flowers will host the book launch.

On Thursday, June 17,  at 7 p.m., join the VMHC and special guest Gary Flowers for a virtual book launch and sneak peek of Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality, a broadly accessible survey of Black history in Virginia, based on the popular 2019 VMHC exhibition by the same name. Flowers, host of The Gary Flowers Show and longtime champion of racial justice and racial cooperation at the local, national, and global level, will interview the book’s author and VMHC curator, Dr. Karen Sherry, as they discuss featured stories and special insights about this new book.

This program is free but registration is required here.


Read the RFM review of VMHC’s historical exhibit here.

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