2009 African American Trailblazers Student Essay Contest Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 African American Trailblazers Student Essay Contest Winners, sponsored by the Library of Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Comcast. The first place winners were recognized at the Trailblazers reception on February 26, 2009 at the Library of Virginia. View copies of the winning entries.

Grades 3-4
First Place: Nicholas DeLaPena
          Hopkins Road Elementary
          Mrs. Cheatham, 4th Grade
Second Place: Brianna Dudley
          Johnson Elementary
          Ms. Lovett, 3rd Grade
Third Place: Camille Perry
          Johnson Elementary
          Ms. Lovett, 3rd Grade
Grades 5-6
First Place: Imani Brooks
          South Boston Elementary
          Ms. Davis, 5th Grade
Second Place: Taylor Burrell
          Grafton Bethel Elementary
          Ms. Greene, 5th Grade
Third Place: Terence Hardy
          Clarksville Elementary
          Ms. Turner, 5th Grade
Grades 7-8
First Place: Jessica Moniz
          West Point Public Schools
          Mrs. Rice, 8th Grade
Second Place: Annesha Sengupta
          Manchester Middle School
          Ms. Sanders, 7th Grade
Third Place: Marisela Ochoa
          Richmond County Intermediate School
          Mr. Strong, 8th Grade

“Piedmont Blues with Wiggins and Friends: A Tribute to John Cephas”
Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: Capital Ale House, 623 E. Main Street, Richmond, Virginia
The River City Blues Society and the Library of Virginia will sponsor a special tribute concert, “Piedmont Blues with Wiggins and Friends: A Tribute to John Cephas,” at the Capital Ale House. Phil Wiggins, a long-time recording and performing partner of Cephas, will be joined by other notable blues players Rick Franklin, Mike Baytop, and Gregg Kimball, to honor Cephas and the Piedmont Blues tradition. Tickets for the event are $5.00. Visit for more details.

“From Lynchburg to Launch Pad: Astronaut Leland Melvin”
Thursday, February 26, 2009, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Location: The Library of Virginia
The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that Leland Melvin, Trailblazer honoree and Virginian astronaut, will be visiting the Library in order to speak with school children about his career as an astronaut. Mr. Melvin is currently in training to go back into space and is assigned to the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s planned mission for October 2009. This program is open to students K–12. In addition to Leland Melvin’s visit, the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton will be conducting hands-on educational programs for students. Program is full.

“Piedmont Blues with Wiggins and Friends: A Tribute to John Cephas”
Blues in the Classroom Program
Thursday, February 26, 2009, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Location: Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School
Wiggins and Friends will perform a special program celebrating John Cephas’ legacy at the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. The event is part of the River City Blues Society’s “Blues in the Schools” initiative and is being co-sponsored by the Library of Virginia.

2009 Ceremony and Reception
The Library of Virginia invites you to celebrate African American History Month by honoring men and women who have played an integral part in Virginia’s history. The 2009 African American Trailblazers in Virginia History reception will be held at the Library of Virginia on Thursday, February 26, 2009, from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Daphne Maxwell Reid, actress and film producer, is the host for the evening. Event is free but you must call 804–692–3900 or register online by February 20, 2009, to reserve your seat.

“Colonial Hearths, Country Cookstoves: Exploring the Culinary Legacies of Mary Randolph and Edna Lewis”
A Special Culinary Program celebrating “Virginia Women in History” and “African American Trailblazers in Virginia History,” sponsored by the Library of Virginia and the University of Richmond’s Center for Culinary Arts
Friday, March 6, 2009, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Location: University of Richmond, Center for Culinary Arts, 9722 Gayton Road, Richmond, Virginia
Explore the culinary legacies of Mary Randolph and Edna Lewis. This is a special culinary program celebrating "Virginia Women in History" and "African American Trailblazers in Virginia History", sponsored by the Library of Virginia and the University of Richmond. Join food historians Nancy Carter Crump, author of Hearthside Cooking: Early American Southern Cuisine Updated for Today's Hearth and Cookstove, and Leni Sorensen, African American Research Historian for the Monticello Foundation, as they discuss the work of both Randolph and Lewis, while recreating recipes from each of their cookbooks. This course will include lectures by both Nancy and Leni, cooking demonstrations, and samples of all the food prepared. To register, call the School of Continuing Studies at 289-8133, email or register online at

Traveling Exhibition Schedule

The 2009 African American Trailblazers in Virginia History exhibition might be coming to your area. Below is the Trailblazer exhibition schedule for 2009:

Date Venue
3/2/2009-4/11/2009 Reynolds Homestead
463 Homestead Lane
Critz, VA 24082-3044
4/13/2009-5/23/2009 Black History Museum & Cultural Center
00 Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23219
5/25/2009-7/4/2009 Dumbarton Area Library
County of Henrico Public Library
6800 Staples Mill Road
Henrico, VA  23228
7/6/2009-8/15/2009 Northumberland Public Library
7204 Northumberland Highway
Heathsville, VA 22473
8/17/2009-9/26/2009 Collinsville Branch
Blue Ridge Regional Library
2540 Virginia Avenue
Collinsville, VA 24078
9/28/2009-11/7/2009 Central Rappahannock Regional Library
1201 Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
11/9/2009-12/19/2009 Newsome House
2803 Oak Avenue
Newport News, VA
12/21/2009-1/30/2010 Blackwater Regional Library
Ruth Camp Campbell Branch
280 North College Drive
Franklin, Virginia 23851
(The exhibition will show at two branches)