RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Slave Trail Commission held a reception for the opening of an exhibition series, Unbound 2019: Truth & Reconciliation, on Thursday evening. Governor Ralph Northam, who came under fire following a blackface scandal, attended Thursday evening’s event.
Northam also gave remarks at the event, highlighting the work of the Richmond Slave Trail Commission.
“Your work in this exhibit are important components of telling the story of where those first Africans were taken from and what happened here in Virginia,” Northam said. This is the first time the governor was seen in the capital city since the blackface scandal broke.
Sylvester Turner, who attended the event, sees that the governor wants to redeem himself. However, Turner says randomly showing up at exhibits isn’t enough.
“There really needs to be a conscious effort of bringing individuals of different sectors into this conversation,” Turner said.
The exhibition, which will go on all year, was “designed to reflect comprehensive and authentic representations of the African story not in the Americas, but also in Virginia and Richmond from before 1619 through present day,” an email from the commission said.
The Richmond Slave Trail Commission’s exhibition series, held in the Gallery at Main Street Station, aims to share truths of enslaved Africans’ lives, which are may sometimes be forgotten and buried.
8News attended the exhibition opening and caught a glimpse of Gov. Northam taking a tour of artifacts.
Other notable attendees of the event on Thursday were former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Ambassador of Ghana His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Historian Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander and Richmond Slave Trail Commissioners.
Côte d’Ivoire Embassy Consulars Mr. Mahan Paul and Ms. Ikossie Martine, along with Virginia State Delegates and Senators and other locally elected officials, also attended the exhibition opening.
The exhibition, located in 1500 E. Main Street, will be open to the public on March 1.