Monthly Archives: May 2009

Richmond Runs In Ukrop’s 10K

By Jeremy Hirsch and Scott Kennedy
VCU InSight

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Richmond Arts To Go “Center Stage”

By Brittany Allen and Brittany Grove
VCU InSight

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Student Moms Balance Studies, Home Life

By Nurah Abdul-Majeed and Brittany Grove
VCU InSight

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Slave Trail Seeks to Free City’s History

By Stephanie Power and Anna Yates
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Near the corner of 17th and Main streets downtown is the site of Lumpkin’s Jail, where African slaves arriving at the Manchester docks were held before being sold off.

Down the street, under a parking lot, is an old burial ground for slaves and poor free blacks. There, Gabriel Prosser was hanged in 1800 for planning a slave rebellion.

A few blocks south, among abandoned storefronts and newer buildings, stands a dilapidated brick structure. It was once an auction house where African slaves were lined up and sold as if they were no more than livestock.

Those and other sites helped establish Richmond’s shameful history as a center for the slave trade. Today, the Richmond Slave Trail Commission has created a trail it hopes will lead to reconciliation and understanding.

Burial Ground, on Richmond Slave Trail

Burial Ground, on Richmond Slave Trail

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Filed under Capital News Service, Education, News, Politics, VCU Initiatives

Sites along the Richmond Slave Trail

The Richmond Slave Trail mirrors the experience of many African slaves in Richmond. It begins on the south side of the James River at Ancarrow’s Landing and ends a little more than three miles later at the First African Baptist Church near Main and 15th streets.

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Filed under Capital News Service, Education, News

Storyteller Mulls America’s Heritage

Nessa Johnson, Richmond storyteller

Nessa Johnson, Richmond storyteller

By Stephanie Power and Anna Yates
Capital News Service

Late one night, Nessa Baskerville Johnson received a strange phone call.

“I think I’m your cousin,” said an unfamiliar voice.

Stranger still: The caller told Johnson that their common relative was a great-grandfather five generations back – a white man who enslaved members of Johnson’s family. The newfound cousin was even a member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

“Then I should be a Daughter,” quipped Johnson, a Richmond author, storyteller, artist and activist who sits on the Richmond Slave Trail Commission.

Johnson says she “always knew” she would have something to do with the history of Richmond. Perhaps her greatest contribution to the commission is her passion for the city, her acceptance of its entire history and her wisdom in shaping its future.

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Filed under Capital News Service, Education, News

Do Payday Lenders Target the Poor?

By Sara Griffith and Josephine Varnier
Capital News Service
 

RICHMOND – Cruising down Broad Street between Virginia Commonwealth University and suburban Short Pump, you’ll see a string of businesses with names like Cash Advance, Cash-2-U and Fast Payday Loans. They’ll lend you money until your next paycheck – at interest rates critics call exorbitant. 

The 23230 ZIP code boasts one of the highest concentrations of payday lending stores in Virginia, with almost one location for every 1,000 residents. The area is also among the poorer sections of metro Richmond, with a median household income about $10,000 below the state average. 

Opponents of payday lenders often criticize the industry for targeting lower-income people. The businesses’ locations lend credence to such criticisms. 

“These are dangerous,” said Dana Wiggins, responsible lending coordinator of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “People become dependant on the loans and begin using them for everyday living things.” 

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Filed under Capital News Service, News, Politics, Richmond