Historian curates new exhibit coming to the Black History Museum in Richmond

Historian curates new exhibit coming to the Black History Museum in Richmond
Elvatrice Belsches is curating a new exhibit at the Black History Museum. (Source: NBC12)
"Yesterday's Stories, Today's Inspiration" at the Black History Museum (Source: NBC12)
"Yesterday's Stories, Today's Inspiration" at the Black History Museum (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Elvatrice Belsches, a Richmond native, historian and researcher, is curating a new exhibit at the Black History Museum in Richmond.

The exhibit is called, "Yesterday's Stories, Today's Inspiration," and chronicles aspects of the African American experience.

Belsches, who was a researcher for the film "Lincoln" and who has been researching and documenting the African American experience for decades, was asked to bring the exhibit to life in July of 2017.

"It covers themes as diverse as the early years, education, the early worship experience," Belsches said. "They are going to learn about the powerful roots of resistance and roots of success here."

Inspirational and incredible stories, told through photographs provided by repositories around the country, here in Virginia and by families themselves.

Phase one of the exhibit will cover stories in education, the worship experience, while phase two will cover organizations, entrepreneurs and military.

"Maybe a lot of people aren't cognoscente of the fact that the first black person to graduate from Harvard's law school was a Richmonder. He was a free black man and he graduated from Harvard in 1869. Richmond can boast to the fact that we had the first black charter by banks in all of America. Between 1877 and 1930, we had no less than 10 black-owned newspapers," Belsches said, describing some of the stories one might see at the exhibit.

Belsches went through thousands of photos, but the ones chosen were taken between the 1850s to the 1950s.

"A lot of these people have made contributions that are national in scope, and some international in scope," Belsches said. "It was important how I chose the photographs to utilize those extraordinary black photographers who chronicles their communities."

Those photographs are now being shared for all to see.

"These are the things you don't always see in textbooks, but the stories are incredible," Belsches said.

It's a new exhibit for the public to learn things they never knew about the African American experience.

The exhibit is opening Feb. 23. Admission is $10, or $8 for groups of 10 or more.

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