In 1958 over 50 notable jazz musicians were photographed in front of a brownstone in Harlem. The photograph is emblematic of the jazz era serving as visual documentation of one of the most important moments in American music history.
On a beautifully cool day in November my community answered a call to meet. On the steps of the Black History Museum of Virginia dozens of african american businessmen, artists, musicians, tastemakers, activists, poets, organizers, elders, urban farmers and stylists, models and more coalesced for one purpose to celebrate the resurgence of african greatness.
The Black Renaissance in Richmond Virginia; incarnate in the diverse works and efforts of so many individuals, many aware of and or collaborators with one another in the evolution of Richmond’s society – is a phenomenon that deserves documentation not only for posterity sake; but for the endearing qualities inherent in human interconnection and unity and as it exemplifies the solidarity of a community; strong and dedicated to each other.
Through photography, we capture experiences. The common moments exemplified in these candid shots are of a community looking into itself. In each person, each business, each brand, we see the identification of mutual respect and synergy. The spirit of collaboration that built 2nd Street and Jackson Ward into an example of self determination resonates within the epigenetics of each individual intergenerationally. Over 75 businesses are represented in these photos, each standing on the shoulders of Maggie Lena Walker and her contemporaries. The spirit of collective work and responsibility lives on through each of us.
Community is a nine letter word. You are its center.