After battling cancer, ‘graceful’ Director of Black History Museum passes away


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A powerful woman of “kindness, talent and unwavering service” is being remembered by the Richmond community after the announcement of her passing.

The Black History Museum of Virginia announced on social media that their Executive Director, Adele Johnson, died over the weekend after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Johnson joined the Black History Museum team in 2017 after “a 20 year dream of working at the museum.”

Last year, The Valentine Museum honored the Black History Museum as a Richmond History Maker, where Adele Johnson was interviewed by 8News about the museum’s historical and cultural impacts.

“I think that we do a great job in telling the stories of others, of telling the stories of African Americans who have made contributions,” Johnson said in the interview. “But now as a history maker we get to tell our own story, and I think the impact that we are making in the community is well worth talking about.”

The Black History Museum said, “she will be a deeply missed member of the Black History Museum family. She once said, ‘the BHM is one of the best-kept secrets in Richmond. My vision is for it not to be a secret anymore.’ We work towards her vision as ‘keepers of the culture,’ sharing stories that inspire.”

Many members of the Richmond community shared their condolences on social media for the woman who passed away “doing what she loves.”

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said, “Adele Johnson was a dear and steadfast friend to RPS. She instantly said ‘Yes!’ to anything I asked on behalf of our students. I will miss her quiet passion, unflappable grace and uncommon kindness. All of RPS holds her family in our prayers.”

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