Preserving Richmond’s History To Create A Better Future

Join us in-person for the Next City Vanguard keynote address with Ana Edwards.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

6:00pm - 7:00pm EASTERN

Photo of the Hippodrome Theater in Richmond, VA. 

The Next City Vanguard conference is an experiential urban leadership gathering of rising urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media taking place in Richmond, VA.

Join Next City and Ana Edwards, public historian and assistant professor in Virginia Commonwealth University‘s Department of African American Studies, for an evening keynote address to learn from her incredible impact on the City of Richmond.

In this Vanguard talk, Edwards will discuss her work preserving the history of Shockoe Bottom, once the epicenter of the U.S. domestic slave trade, and the community vision for the site. Edwards will also share how Richmond’s urban landscape is changing as it grapples with its history of racism.

Light appetizers will be served and drinks will be available for purchase (credit card only).



Ana Edwards is a public historian with research interests in the history and significance of “Gabriel's Rebellion,” 18th century Black life in Virginia, how both informed the construction of the American nation, how these histories are articulated in public landscapes and why they resonate today. She holds a BA in visual arts and an MA in history. As co-founder of the social justice activist group, the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality (2002), she helped establish the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project (2004) which, in collaboration with other community organizations, contributed to the reclamation of Richmond's first municipal African Burial Ground. A Memorial Park in Shockoe Bottom, the 19th century “epicenter” of the US domestic slave trade and birth district of the city of Richmond—is now part of the city’s strategic development plan. Her advocacy work includes social justice and historic preservation advocacy for African American spaces, especially pre and post emancipation burial places—among them Shockoe Bottom African Burial Ground, Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, East Marshall Street Well Project, East End and Evergreen cemeteries. Edwards was the recipient of the inaugural VCU History Department Alumni Achievement Award in 2021 for her contributions to public history and advocacy for social justice and the 2022 Engage for Change Community Educator Award from the UR Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.

Presented by:

The Weissberg Foundation, a family foundation rooted in Virginia, believes building the power of those most negatively impacted by racism is the central path to dismantling structural racism. We center Black and Indigenous people, while supporting all communities of color, in Virginia and its surrounding regions. Through funding, amplification, capacity building and collaboration, we advance organizations and efforts building power of those most negatively impacted by racism. We are committed to activating 100% of our assets for racial equity and justice.

Made Possible With Support By:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at


Hippodrome Theater
528 N 2nd St
Richmond, VA

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