VFH Officials Attend Opening of “By God’s Grace”

Legacy’s fourth major exhibit, on the black church in Central Virginia, opened to the public on Sunday, June 30, with David Bearinger and Fran Canon of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in attendance.

The VFH is a major sponsor of “By God’s Grace: The African American Worship Experience in Central Virginia, 1820-1950.” Bearinger and Canon were on hand to mingle with guests and to enjoy the program, which included remarks by Rev. Haywood Robinson, Jr., on the history of the black church, and a solo by Rev. James Cobbs, who led the group in singing “Amazing Grace.”

Also on the program was guest curator Dianne Swann-Wright, who spoke about the exhibit and recognized those who had helped put it together, including design and installation specialist Betsy-Johnson Whitten and researcher Ted Delaney, archivist and curator at the Old City Cemetery. Willie Thornhill and Carolyn Bell, co-chairs of the collection committee, acknowledged the work of volunteer docents and collectors on “By God’s Grace.”

Docents who were recognized included the following: Lucinda Booker, Cornelia Campbell, Veronica DeLuze, Joyce Dixon, Gloria Franklin, Toni Pate, Gaynelle Pullen, Jean Smith-Turner, James Taylor, and Mary Watts.

Collectors for “By God’s Grace” were Cordelia Alexander, Joe Berryman, Edwina Beverly, Lucinda Booker, Carolyn Brown, Clarence Brown, Rufus Callaham, Cornelia Campbell, Frances Carter, Barbara Cofield, Joyce Dixon, Gloria Franklin, Cynthia Hall, Claudette Haskins, Alma Irvine, Jeannette Irvine, Kay Jackson, Shirley Johnson, Alice Mabry, Toni Pate, Christine Petticolas, Anne Pinn, Gaynelle Pullen, Haywood Robinson, Jr., Emmie Spencer, Cheryl Stallings, James Taylor, Elaine Watson, Mary Watts, and Lena Williams.

In addition to awarding Legacy a $10,000 grant for “By God’s Grace,” the VFH has also supported two previous exhibits with $3,000 grants through its African American Heritage mini-grant program.

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