Submitted by Sarah Bowman
Newport News Public Library has been awarded a $7,000 grant from Virginia Humanities to develop a multimedia exhibit in honor of the achievements of residents from the Southeast Community. The exhibit, Say It Loud: A Salute to the Heroes of the Southeast Community, is part of a multi-phased project the library launched to commemorate and preserve the city’s historical legacy.
“The Southeast Community of Newport News has a strong African American heritage, rich in culture, business and opportunity,” says Sonia Alcantara-Antoine, Director of Newport News Public Library. “While the city and our partners are investing significant resources to transform this area, we must also reflect on the history of this neighborhood and residents. The Say it Loud: A Salute to the Heroes of the Southeast Community exhibit celebrates our city’s diverse cultural narrative and reignites the pride of this community’s storied past.”
The new exhibit is being created by Library staff with input from a Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Honorees must have made a significant and lasting contribution to the Southeast Community, supported the betterment of the community or helped advance civil rights in Virginia. The exhibit will debut at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in winter 2021. It will travel to other locations throughout the city and will be available to view digitally through the Library’s website.
“There was unanimous support for the Say It Loud: A Salute to the Heroes of the Southeast Community project,” said Carolyn Cades, Associate Director of Grants and Community Programs for Virginia Humanities. “We believe this is an important story that needs to be told for years to come.”
Founded in 1974, Virginia Humanities is one of 56 humanities councils created by Congress with money and support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans. Their mission is to help Virginians connect with their history and culture by sharing the stories of all.
Say it Loud: A Salute to the Heroes of the Southeast Community will be the third installment in the Library’s series honoring Newport News residents. The second exhibit is currently on display in the Virginiana Room at the Main Street Library.
For more information on the Say It Loud project or to view the current exhibit, please visit or call the Virginiana Room at the Main Street Library at 757-591-4858.