The artist Joseph Cornell spent almost every day of his life in New York City, but he’s becoming an honorary Virginian. The foundation he left behind has given millions to causes in the Commonwealth, and this spring his work will be shown and discussed in Charlottesville and Richmond.
A performance by former child soldier who became a musician as a way to tell his story, kicks off a Forum on Global Engagement at Virginia Tech. Internationally known hip-hop artist and social justice advocate, Emmanuel Jal will perform a rare, free concert in Blacksburg.
Emmanuel Jal was born in 1980s war torn South Sudan. He was swept up into a child soldiers’ brigade before a British Aid worker rescued him and brought to the UK. What happened to him haunted his dreams until he began to turn it into music.
There’s an unusual reunion planned this weekend at the home of James and Dolly Madison. About forty descendants of slaves will visit from around the nation to help administrators tell the story of enslaved families at Montpelier.
Slaves were the first people to live at Montpelier – clearing the land and building a house in 1723. Over the next eighty years, the population of enslaved people would rise to 120, yet Education Director Christian Cotz says you wouldn’t know they were there.
It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans.
Virginia has a long history with the banjo, and it didn’t start with bluegrass--it started with enslaved Africans.
As early as 1781, Thomas Jefferson took note of the stringed gourd instruments his slaves played. Over the years, the banjo was transformed from an African instrument, to a predominantly white instrument with the familiar bluegrass twang.