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The Virginia Forum welcomes those interested in history, economics, politics, geography, law, literature, education, politics, environmental studies, archaeology, and anthropology related to Virginia. The signature event of the Virginia Forum is an annual meeting and conference held once a year in the spring at a different host institution throughout Virginia and now, West Virginia.

2024 Virginia Forum Program

Program for the 2024 Virginia Forum

at Virginia Museum of History and Culture

in Richmond, VA

on April 4 to 6, 2024

**Registration WALK-UP ONLY as of April 4**

Hotel Information:

  • Graduate Richmond - 301 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220

  • Quirk Richmond - 201 W Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220

  • Linden Row

  • Richmond Marriott Downtown - 500 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219 (NOTE: new expiration date of April 4!)


Thursday, April 4


4:00 to 6:00 pm: Registration

5:30 to 6:45 pm: Welcome Remarks and Keynote

Jim Ambuske of R2 Studios at George Mason University: “Turning Worlds Upside Down: Challenging Public Assumptions about the Past through podcasting”

Jim Ambuske is a Historian and Senior Producer at R2 Studios. A historian of the American Revolution, Scotland, and the British Atlantic World, he received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2016. He is the author and co-author of several publications on the American Revolution, transatlantic legal history, and King George III, including “The law of loyalism: The Campbell family, the court of session, and the price of loyalty in the revolutionary Atlantic world” (Atlantic Studies, 2023), and with Randall Flaherty, “Reading Law in the Early Republic: Legal Education in the Age of Jefferson” in The Founding of Mr. Jefferson’s University (2019). He is currently at work on a book titled The Fury of Emigration: Scotland, The American Revolution, and the Fate of Empire.


At R2 Studios, Ambuske is the creator, writer, and narrator of Worlds Turned Upside Down, a narrative podcast about the history of the American Revolution. He also serves as executive producer of The Green Tunnel podcast, a series about the history of the Appalachian Trail, and Your Most Obedient & Humble Servant, a series about eighteenth and nineteenth-century women and the letters they wrote. Before joining R2 Studios, Ambuske led the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

7:30 to 8:45 pm: Evening Event

Cheers, Virginia Forum!: A Discussion with Richmond Beeristoric
Moderator: Paige Newman, Virginia Museum of History & Culture, and Lee Graves & Mike Gorman, Richmond Beeristoric

Friday, April 5

8:00 am: Registration opens

Complimentary coffee, tea, and light snacks

8:30 to 10:00 am: Session I

Panel 1: Moving Towards Justice: A History of Medical Racism & Institutional Accountability at Virginia Commonwealth University

Moderator: Christine Cynn, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Remembrance and Reverence: Contextualizing the East Marshall Street Well Project”

  • Margaret Unverzagt Goddard, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Student Research Spotlight: Oral History as Memorialization”

  • Michael Verner and Sunday Wright, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Race, Resistance, and Anatomical Dissection: Symbolic Justice for the Victims of Medical Graverobbing”

  • Daniel Sunshine, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Combating Systemic Bias: Creating the VCU Racism and Health Guide”

  • Erica Brody, Virginia Commonwealth University


Panel 2: Inheritance: Slavery & The Cost of “Motherhood”

Moderator: George Oberle, George Mason University

“Not Satisfied with the Provisions Made for Her: Elizabeth Mary Ann Barnes Hooe, the Mason Family, and the Transfer of Property in Early Virginia”

  • David Armstrong, George Mason University

“Partus Sequitur Ventrum & Infanticide among Enslaved Black Women in Virginia”

  • Shemika Curvey, George Mason University

“Motherhood On the Run: Enslaved and Enslaving Women Defining Womanhood in Antebellum Virginia”

  • Annabelle Spencer, George Mason University

Panel 3: This is What Democracy Looks Like: Virginians as Activists

Moderator: Emilie E. Raymond, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Richmond Jews in Social Activism, 1970s to Present Day: What roles has the Jewish community played in shaping Richmond?”

  • Tracy Herman, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Modeling Citizenship: Black Parents Confront Virginia’s Pupil Placement Board, 1957-1965”

  • Angela Lehman, Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia

Panel 4: Advocating for Change: Institutional (In)justices in the Twentieth Century

Moderator: Stanley K. Arnold, Northern Illinois University

 “Lucian Louis Watts, Advocate for Virginia’s Blind”

  • Nadia Bukach, Virginia Commonwealth University

“The Legacy of June Purcell Guild: Social Worker, Attorney, and Civil Rights Advocate”

  • Alice Woodworth Campbell, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

“Challenging the Racial Classification of Virginia Indians in the Military Selective Service System”

  • Mika Endo, George Mason University

 “White Coats and Black Shrouds: The Role of Virginia's State Anatomical Board in the Jim Crow Era”

  • Kevin Hegg, James Madison University's Libraries

10:00 to 10:15 am: Break

Complimentary coffee, tea, and light snacks

10:15 to 11:45 am: Session II


Panel 5: Making and Unmaking Virginians: Eugenics at 100

Moderator: Peter M. Hedlund, Virginia Humanities

 “Eugenics at the University of Virginia”

  • P. Preston Reynolds, University of Virginia

“Elite Political Pressure and the Making of Eugenics”

  • Patricia Miller, Virginia Humanities

“Eugenic Sterilization in Virginia”

  • Elizabeth Catte, Passel LLC - Applied History Consultants

“The Paper Genocide in Virginia”

  • Ashley Atkins Spivey, Kenah Consulting LLC

Panel 6: Teaching Virginia Histories as DEI

Moderator and Commentator: Dwana Waugh, Sweet Briar College

“Tarter and Dabney Compared: Teaching Virginia History as DEl”

  • Tom Costa, University of Virginia's College at Wise


“Using Virginia History to Introduce Students to DEI”

  • Mathias D. Bergman, Randolph-Macon College

Panel 7: Roundtable on After Emancipation: Racism and Resistance at the University of Virginia

Moderators: Kirt von Daacke, University of Virginia, and Andrea Douglas, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, editors of After Emancipation


  • Ashley Schmidt, Academic Program Officer, President’s Commission on the University in the Age of Segregation at the University of Virginia

  • Countess Hughes, University of Virginia alumna and UVA employee in Housing & Residence Life

  • Leslie M. Scott-Jones, Curator of Learning Engagement & Public Programs at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

  • Ty’Leik Chambers (UVA ’22), Community Outreach Coordinator for the Getting Word African American Oral History Project at Monticello and Youth & College President Of The Virginia State Conference NAACP

  • Jay Pun, music teacher at Renaissance School and Advisory Board member of the Eko Ise Music Program at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

Panel 8: Remembering and Forgetting in Virginia

Moderator: Sheri Ann Huerta, George Mason University

“Finding Belinda Brown in Unexpected Places: Traces of a Black Wife, Mother, and Independent Thinker in a Lost Cause Narrative”

  • Catherine E. Saunders, George Mason University

“Commemoration versus Community: The Establishment of the National Park Service’s Chimborazo Medical Museum in Richmond, Virginia in the 1950s”

  • Laura Brannan Fretwell, George Mason University

“Who curates and comprises William & Mary’s History?: T-Shirts as Tools of Remembering and Forgetting”

  • Tyler Goldberger and Mitzy Colligan, William & Mary

11:45 am to 1:30 pm: Lunch Break

Boxed lunches available for registered attendees


12:15-1:15 pm: Virginia Forum Board Meeting

Open to all registered attendees (Harry M. Bluford Classroom)

1:30 to 3:00 pm: Session III

Panel 9: Slavery, Law, and Power in Virginia and the British Atlantic World: Digital Humanities Research and Best Practices

Moderator: Holly Brewer, University of Maryland

“Virginia’s 1705 Slave Code in British Imperial Context”

  • Michael J. Becker, William & Mary

“Manuscript Codes and Virginia Slave & Servant Laws, 1690-1706”

  • Holly Brewer, University of Maryland

“The Power of Collaboration: SLP and the Humanities Lab Model”

  • Dylan Bails, University of Maryland

“Search Engines, Tags, and User Interfaces: Making SLP Accessible to All Audiences”

  • Alexandra Kadis, University of Maryland

Panel 10: “But I’m trying to carry on as normal now:” A Roundtable Discussion on the State of Post-Pandemic Secondary Education

Moderator: Anna Kiefer-Douglas, Mount Tabor High School and Laurel Ridge Community College


  • Jennifer Pisini-Martin, Mount Tabor High School

  • Meredith Wooten, Mount Tabor High School

  • Heather C. Oberle, Prince William County Public Schools

Panel 11: Women and the Civil War from 1862 to 2023

Moderator: Warren E. Milteer, Jr., George Washington University

“Negotiating the Lost Cause: Women and Reform in Progressive Era Virginia”

  • Clayton McClure Brooks, Mary Baldwin University


“Resistance to Reconstruction: White Virginia Women’s Resentment in 1862-1870”

  • Madeleine Stout, Florida State University


“Living History and the U.S. Supreme Court: Challenges in Portraying the Civil War”

  • Joshua M. Howard, Passel LLC - Applied History Consultants


Panel 12: Telling the Stories of Indigenous and Black Virginians at the Library of Virginia

Moderator: Brent Tarter, Library of Virginia (retired) and co-author of Justice For Ourselves: Black Virginians Claim Their Freedom After Slavery

Participants (all from the Library of Virginia):

  • Barbara C. Batson, Exhibitions Coordinator, Indigenous Perspectives

  • Ashley Ramey Craig, Community Engagement & Partnerships Specialist, Indigenous Perspectives

  • John G. Deal, co-author, Justice For Ourselves: Black Virginians Claim Their Freedom After Slavery

  • Marianne E. Julienne, co-author, Justice For Ourselves: Black Virginians Claim Their Freedom After Slavery


3:00 to 3:15 pm: Break

Complimentary coffee, tea, and light snacks

3:15 to 4:45 pm: Session IV

Panel 13: The Intertwined Histories of Black and White Virginians Across Three Centuries: A Roundtable on Latest Books and Newest Trends

Moderator: Nadine Zimmerli, University of Virginia Press


  • Marvin T. Chiles, Old Dominion University, author of The Struggle for Change: Race and the Politics of Reconciliation in Modern Richmond

  • Gianluca De Fazio, James Madison University, editor of Lynching in Virginia: Racial Terror and its Legacy

  • Christopher Alan Graham, American Civil War Museum, author of Faith, Race, and the Lost Cause: Confessions of a Southern Church

  • Tom Shoop, public historian, author of A Place Called Ilda: Race and Resilience at a Northern Virginia Crossroads

  • Daniel B. Thorp, Virginia Tech, author of In the True Blue’s Wake: Slavery and Freedom among the Families of Smithfield Plantation


Panel 14: Virginians and the Path Forward After Gun Violence: A Roundtable

Moderator: Thomas P. Kapsidelis, University of Richmond


  • Megan Doney, New River Community College, author of Unarmed (October publication), an essay collection on safety in the shadow of tragedy

  • Thomas P. Kapsidelis, University of Richmond, author of After Virginia Tech

  • Joseph Samaha, Victim Advocacy and Outreach Director for VTVCare, a mission of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation

Panel 15: Virginian and European: Three Lives in the Early Republic

Moderator: J. Jefferson Looney, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

“Jean Miller Skipwith: Rooted in Scotland and Virginia”

  • Gaye S. Wilson, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

“A Virginian Outside of Virginia”

  • Megan R. Brett, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

“A Jewish Immigrant and his Mixed-Race Family”

  • Olivia Brown, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Panel 16: Beyond the Scenic Blue Ridge: Stories of the Displaced Families of Shenandoah National Park

Moderator: Marina E. Curry, Rockingham County Circuit Court

“The Creation of Shenandoah National Park”

  • Megan Schoeman, Rockingham County Circuit Court

“The Histories Along the Blue Ridge (HBR) Project: Digitization Intricacies, Funding, and Evolution”

  • Sydney Ring, James Madison University

4:45 to 5:45 pm: Historical Walking Tour of the VMHC and VMFA Campus

5:45 to 7:00 pm: Plenary, with Reception to follow

Jon Kukla on “250 Years Later: Some Pivotal Events in Virginia of 1774”

Jon Kukla (Ph.D. University of Toronto) is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and his recent books aspire to present first-rate historical scholarship accessible for general readers. He is currently reassessing the origins of the American Revolution in a book entitled Rehearsal for Revolution: The Stamp Act Rebellion, 1764-1766. Kukla’s most recent book, Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty (Simon & Schuster, 2017) won the Slatten Award for Biography from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture and was a finalist for the George Washington Prize as well as the Library of Virginia’s People’s Choice Award. His previous books include Mr. Jefferson's Women (Knopf, 2007) and A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America (Knopf, 2003) – both Book-of-the-Month and History Book Club selections.

Saturday, April 6

8:30 to 10:00 am: Session V

Panel 17: Beyond the Big House: Teaching Plantation History Through Virtual Reality

Moderator: Joseph M. Rizzo, Wilton House Museum

“What Once Was: Opportunities and Challenges of the Virtual Past”

  • Nathan R. Prestopnik, Wes Brown, Joey Miciotta, and Tyler Dossat, Shenandoah University

“Research and Interpretation for Relocated Historic Home”

  • Erica Blake, Wilton House Museum

Panel 18: A Roundtable on A People’s Guide to Richmond and Central Virginia: Telling Virginians’ Stories of Power and Resistance through Public and Community-Engaged Histories

Moderators: Melissa Ooten, University of Richmond, and Jason Sawyer, Old Dominion University, authors of A People’s Guide to Richmond and Central Virginia


  • Cheryl Groce-Wright, Kaleidoscope Collaborative RVA LLC

  • Kim Lee Schmidt, Kim Lee Photography

  • Cathy Woodson, Virginia Organizing (retired)

Panel 19: The Limits of Being a Virginian: Race and Power in the Old Dominion

Moderator and Commentator: Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Norfolk State University

“Accounting as Social Control: The 1836 Census of Free Blacks in Norfolk, Virginia”

  • Charles H. Ford, Norfolk State University

“‘So that her usefulness may be a blessing to her race’: The Legacy of Alexandria Teacher Jane Solomon Crouch”

  • Amy Bertsch, Independent Scholar

“From the Old Dominion to the Lone Star State: Albert F. Keeble and the Myth of the Frontier in Early American History”

  • Jeffrey L. Littlejohn, Sam Houston State University

Panel 20: Geographies of Inequity in Northern Virginia

Moderator: Krystyn R. Moon, University of Mary Washington

“Fade to White – Ilda and the Right to Remain”

  • Mandy Katz, George Mason University

“Separate, But Self-Determined: Black Education & Community in Occoquan”

  • Stephanie Martinez, George Mason University

“Bridgett Town: How Hostile Nostalgia Obscured its Memory and how Henri Lefebvre's Production of Space Could Bring It Back”

  • Kristina Nohe, George Mason University

10:00 to 10:15 am: Break

Complimentary coffee, tea, and light snacks

10:15 to 11:45 am: Session VI

Panel 21: Uncovering the Narratives of Enslaved People Who Built Virginia Universities and Colleges – UVA Descendant Project and The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation

Moderators: Jody Allen, William & Mary and Carolyn M. Dillard, University of Virginia


  • Jajuan Johnson, Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Research Associate at William & Mary

  • Shelley Viola Murphy, Descendant Project Researcher at the University of Virginia

Panel 22: Telling Virginia Labor History through Material Culture

Moderator: Anna Kiefer-Douglas, Mount Tabor High School and Laurel Ridge Community College

“Laboring in Revolutionary Virginia’s Public Armory”

  • Joel Cameron Anderson, Independent Public Historian


“Workers in the Margins, the 'Hidden Hands' in the Trade Shops of Virginia in the eighteenth Century: Searching for the Identities of Indentured ad Enslaved Laborers in Colonial Virginia”

  • Jacqueline A. Delisle, General Counsel for BSC America


 “'I Come Creeping': Untold Women from the Battle of Blair Mountain”

  • Adrienne E. Robertson, Independent Historian


Panel 23: “A ‘Perfectly Novel’ Solution to a Thorny Constitutional Problem: Virginians, Pennsylvanians, and the Creation of the Federal Executive at the Philadelphia Convention, 1787”


Moderator: Terri Halperin, University of Richmond



  • Warren R. Hofstra, Shenandoah University

  • Kevin R. Hardwick, James Madison University


Panel 24: New Histories of Civil War in the Old Dominion: Representation and Remembrance


Moderator: James J. Broomall, Shepherd University


“Pardoned by Two Presidents: Charles Cowlam’s Pardons from Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis”

  • Frank W. Garmon, Jr., Christopher Newport University


“‘Demoting’ Davis: Resistance, Activism, and the Rhetorics of Museum Display”

  • Nicole Maurantonio, University of Richmond


“Reverie in Richmond: Women Artists Reimagine Virginia’s Past”

  • Paige Sellars, Virginia Museum of History and Culture


“Picturing Wartime Virginia: Visual Culture of the Civil War Soldier”

  • James Brookes, Virginia Museum of History and Culture


11:45 to 1:15 pm: Lunch Break

Boxed lunches available for registered attendees


1:30 to 3:00 pm: Session VII

Panel 25: Community Stories: Virginia in Microhistory


Moderator: Phillip Hamilton, Christopher Newport University


“Displaced but not Forgotten: Translocal Citizenship and the Significance of Community Ties in the Green Valley neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia”

  • Delario A. Lindsey, Marymount University


“Old Commonwealth, New Communities: A Look at the Virginia Piedmont’s Small-Town Jewish Experience”

  • Matthew S. Gottlieb, Virginia Department of Historic Resources


“‘Registered and numbered in a book . . .’: the Rediscovered Early Register of Free Blacks for Orange County, Virginia and Related Research on the Regional Antebellum Free Black Community”

  • Ann L. Miller, Virginia Transportation Research Council


“Local Histories & Social Network Analysis in Virginian Cities & Counties”

  • Lynn Rainville, Historic Consultant


Panel 26: The American Dream: Land in Early Virginia


Moderator: Jon Kukla, Richmond, Virginia


“Washington's Sheepshead: Revolutionary Virginia Leaders and the Biological Environment of the Chesapeake Estuary”

  • Albert H. Tillson, Jr., University of Tampa, Emeritus


“Red Land, Black Labor, White Colleges: Virginia, 1850s–1950s”

  • Peter Wallenstein, Virginia Tech


‘The White Male Land Ownership Question in Antebellum Virginia”

  • John J. Zaborney, University of Maine at Presque Isle


Panel 27: Yearning to be Free: Slavery and Abolition in Antebellum Virginia


Moderator: Joe Stinnett, retired editor, The Roanoke Times and the Lynchburg News & Advance


“Black legal culture in slavery in Antebellum Virginia”

  • David Lacy, University of Toledo


“Virginians in Liberia”

  • Deborah A. Lee, Independent Scholar


 “‘The Last Sayings of Sarah Terrell’ and Its Impact on Revolutionary-era Quaker Abolitionism in Virginia”

  • Rebecca Pickard, South River Quaker Meeting House and Burial Ground Committee


“Interpreting the Architecture for Enslaved Households in Virginia: Period Evidence and Modern Preservation Issues”

  • Douglas W. Sanford, Virginia Slave Housing Project


Panel 28: Virginia in Three Centuries: Complicating Historical Notions of Race across Time and Space


Moderator: Steven Harris-Scott, George Mason University


“East Indians and Mobility in Virginia, 1635-1750”

  • Jason R. Sellers, University of Mary Washington


“The Honesty Family of Northern Virginia, 1740s-1900s”

  • Heather K. Bollinger, Tudor Place


“The Creation of NOVA and Black Commuters from Falls Church, Virginia, 1890s-1950s”

  • Krystyn R. Moon, University of Mary Washington


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