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African American Interpretation

40th Anniversary

Throughout 2019 the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation commemorates 40 years of African-American historical interpretation, inviting guests and the community to experience spotlighted programming, a series of community conversations on the past, present and future of the Foundation’s work, and a special exhibition in remembrance of the African-American men and women of Williamsburg who helped forge the nation.

40 Years Of African American Interpretation

Lecture Series


May 10, 2019

Join Rex Ellis, Christy Coleman, and Dylan Pritchett as they discuss the early days of African American Interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.


July 5, 2019

Join Williamsburg Interpreters who make African American programs possible as they share some of these programs and discuss the importance of telling the shared American Story.


October 18, 2019

Join historians, interpreters and museum specialists as they discuss the future of African American Programming. What stories still need to be told? And what will the future bring in new innovations?



Revealing The Priceless 40 years of African American Interpretation

As we celebrate 40 years of African American programming at Colonial Williamsburg, you are invited to walk back in time and follow the development of African American programming. Forty years in the making, the Revealing the Priceless exhibition highlights Colonial Williamsburg's efforts to tell the story of Williamsburg’s eighteenth-century enslaved children, women, and men.


Half the History

The names of Williamsburg’s free and enslaved black people could have been lost to history.

About the 40th Anniversary logo:

The sankofa bird symbol originated with the Akan people of West Africa in what is modern-day Ghana. In the region’s Twi dialect, “sankofa” means “return and get it.” The sankofa bird, looking back at its own tail, represents the African diaspora’s recovery of its shared past in order to secure its future.

This year’s commemoration is made possible in part due to generous support from the Ford Foundation.