VB African American Cultural Center capital campaign launches

April 25, 2018

The Virginia Beach African American Cultural Center's capital campaign kicks off on Thursday, April 26 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with a private event at the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center.


Dean Risë Nelson, director of the Afro-American Cultural Center, established in 1969 at Yale University, will speak on the importance and impact of celebrating and preserving African American history and culture in communities for future generations.


The center is projected to cost about $10 million.


Founded by Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, a Norfolk State University music professor and former Virginia Beach City Council member, the center’s executive board consists of: Dr. Linda Bright, president; Bruce Williams, first vice president; Jim Banks, treasurer; Cheryl Davidson, secretary;

William T. Calhoun; Hugh Greene; Wayne Jones; Vanessa Moore; and

Juan Turnes.


The center's mission statement is a call to collect, preserve, interpret and celebrate Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County’s African American history, culture and community from the mid-1600s to the present; and to inform and educate the public about African Americans’ achievements in business, politics religion, civic organizations and the arts.


Reach Ross-Hammond at anrphd@aol.com or 757-270-4658.


Visit the website at www.aaccvb.org.


With a goal of making Virginia Beach another hub for African American culture and a historic resource in the region, the center will be constructed on 4.8 acres of city-owned land at Lake Edwards Park, surrounded by six of the 12 historically African American neighborhoods in Virginia Beach: Newsome Farm, Lake Edwards, Burton Station, Reedtown, Grace Town and Lake Smith.


Amenities will include a historic journey walking trail, outdoor event spaces, a gallery, a rotunda hall and multipurpose classrooms. Artifacts and other historical memorabiliawill also be displayed.


“One of the first concerns I heard after taking office was the longing of many elderly and middle-aged community members to have a repository for historic artifacts,” Ross-Hammond said. “There is a lot of history and culture we need to preserve and share with future generations. This will bring a sense of pride to the community and showcase such traditions as storytelling, the spoken word, and arts and crafts unique to the culture. In the age of high technology, there is still a need to be grounded in the cultural values of elders.”




The center will be located next to Lake Edward Park at the corner of

Newtown and Diamond Springs roads,



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