February 6, 2023

Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department Renews Black History Panel Partnership with Norfolk State University

As part of an effort to continue the celebration of Black history year-round, the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department and Norfolk State University (NSU) are excited to announce the continuation of a multi-year virtual panel partnership. This free, quarterly series is themed around each year's national Black History Month theme, which in 2023 is "Black Resistance."

For the third year in a row, Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, an award-winning author, endowed professor of Virginia Black History and Culture, and emeritus director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies, will serve as moderator and co-host.

The panels are produced by and co-hosted by Dr. Stephanie Richmond, co-director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies, associate professor of History, and chair of the Curriculum Committee for the College of Liberal Arts.

Discussions will range from an overview of the national topic to how the theme impacts communities, families, education and other sectors. Each panel will feature various panelists to discuss different topics.

The series kicks off on Feb. 17 with an "Oral History Gathering Day" from 9 a.m. to noon in the Renaissance Academy, 5100 Cleveland St., home of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. NSU students and professors will interview alumni who attended the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School (PACTS/UKHS), the first high school for Black students in Princess Anne County, now known as Virginia Beach, to help preserve local Black history and the school's legacy.

Recordings will be used for a digital collection, promotion of the museum and incorporate alumni experiences related to the 2023 national Black History Month theme. If you graduated from PACTS/UKHS, or can connect an alumnus to this project, please email Hillary Plate, Cultural Programming and Grants Coordinator for Cultural Affairs, at hplate@vbgov.com. Recording sessions are free, but advanced registration is required.

The series will continue throughout the year, with free virtual panel discussions led by subject matter experts and educators in the following topics:

  • Black Resistance: Art, Performance and Culture
  • Black Resistance: Education and Law
  • Black Resistance: Community and Press

Virtual panel registration information, dates and times to be announced at virginiabeach.gov/culture.

In 2021, the partners joined forces to pilot a single virtual panel discussion built around the year's national Black History Month Theme, "The Black Family, Representation, Identity, and Diversity." The program, entitled "Lift Me On Up: The Power and Influence of Black Family," featured panelists, including educators and community leaders, discussing a wide range of themes impacting Black families. In 2022, the program expanded to a year-long series centered around the theme, "Black Health and Wellness."


The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees the Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.


Norfolk State University is a comprehensive urban public institution committed to transforming students' lives through exemplary teaching, research, and service. Offering a supportive academic and culturally diverse environment for all, the University empowers its students to turn their aspirations into reality and achieve their full potential as well-rounded, resourceful citizens and leaders for the 21st century. NSU plays a vital economic and social role in the City of Norfolk, the Hampton Roads region, and across Virginia.

Black History Panel Series

Oral History Gathering Day

# # #

Contact Information

Keep Reading

See All Posts