Historical Marker Unveiling

Please join us for the unveiling of the new Virginia Historical Highway Marker at the site of Orrick’s home and livery stable.
15 South Braddock Street (The old stone house now Potesta & Associates)

Robert Orrick (ca. 1827-1902)
African American community leader Robert Orrick, born enslaved, began a freight-hauling business before he became free in 1863. After the Civil War, he was one of the first African Americans awarded a contract to carry the U.S. mail (1865), and he rented a building to the Freedmen’s Bureau to serve as a school. He prospered as the owner of a major livery stable and was a landowner, farmer, and minister. Orrick donated materials to rebuild a Methodist church in nearby Stephens City, later called Orrick Chapel. The African American cemetery in Winchester, which he expanded, was also named for him. Orrick purchased this stone house in 1891, and his livery stable stood on the adjoining lot.

Following the unveiling ceremony, attendees will be invited to walk through the first floor of the house.
Thank you to Potesta & Associates for funding the marker and opening the Orrick Home for the unveiling.

Free Admission at Belle Grove Plantation

On Monday, June 20, Belle Grove will be open 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. with free admission. This includes tours of the Manor House and the new, permanent exhibit, Unearthing Enslaved Lives at Belle Grove. It features the archaeology conducted at the Enslaved Quarter Site in 2015-2019.

The 60,000 excavated artifacts, and supporting archival research, reveal details about the more than 270 men, women, and children the Hite family enslaved at Belle Grove. They show how these individuals-built lives for themselves, despite the harsh conditions of slavery, and how their labors shaped the economy and history of the Shenandoah Valley.

Juneteenth Celebration

Hood Love will be hosting the 1st ever Juneteenth event to be held outside in downtown Winchester this Friday, June 17th starting at 6pm.

Please come out and help us make history and start a yearly tradition. We will start off with speakers talking about our history in Winchester.

Then end the night with some music from our very own local GO-GO band Collective Measure Band. Bring your own lawn chairs.

Hosted by community group Hood-Love and the Black Student Union from Handley High School

Lunch and Learn: Civil Rights in Virginia

Learn about the Civil Rights Movement and school desegregation in Winchester with historian Judy Humbert. An author, Humbert is a 1965 graduate of Douglas School, Winchester’s African American high school during the days of segregation. Bring your lunch and spend an hour with an expert!

MSV members: $5; all others: $12 (includes admission, beverages & cookies). Pre-register by February 19; register online or call 540-662-1473, ext. 240. Walk-ins welcome as space permits.

Photo: Douglas High School students, 1965–1966, Judy Humbert Collection, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA.

Black History Month Films: Denzel Washington

In February, we celebrate Black History Month at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, VA by handing over programming to our NAACP of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties.

For the past five years they have partnered with us to highlight outstanding African American cinema as well as raise money for local youth scholarships.

This year, they have dedicated the month to “my man” Denzel Washington. Screenings all month long highlight the career of Denzel Washington.

Movies will be shown on February 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 25, 26.

See movies and showtimes

Black History Month Talk: Abe Spencer

Learn about the life of Abraham Spencer (about 1806–1873), a free potter of color working in a southern slave economy in the Shenandoah Valley. Son of two enslaved workers emancipated in the early 1800s, Spencer worked with some of the Valley’s most noted potters. Presented by independent scholar and potter Brenda Hornsby Heindl.

Registration required by January 30; register online or call 540-662-1473, ext. 240. Admission fee applies to visit galleries.

Brenda Hornsby Heindl is an independent scholar. She is a graduate of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture and an alumna of Berea College in Kentucky. Her prior work includes head of the Ceramics Department at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Auctions, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and the Ceramics and Glass Department at Colonial Williamsburg. In June of 2018 Brenda received a grant from the American Ceramic Circle to research Abraham Spencer and another free potter of color from Georgia, Lucius Jordan. She also lectures and presents workshops on historic ceramics, kilns, and pottery production. As a production potter, she built a wood-firing, salt-glaze kiln in 2012, and uses her studio, Liberty Stoneware, as an outlet for historic ceramics research.

Great Blacks in Wax Exhibition

The National Great Blacks in Museum will showcase life-size and like-like wax figures of African American Heroes at Handley Library.

This exhibition is from the National Great Blacks Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, one of the nation’s most dynamic cultural and educational institutions focused on highlighting historical and contemporary personalities of African ancestry. Figures on display include Mary Elizabeth Bowser (Union spy during the Civil War), Chappie James (four-star general), Frederick Douglass (an abolitionist), Lewis Latimer (an American inventor), and Carter G. Woodson (a historian and father of Black History Month).

The exhibition is free and open the public, taking place in the Handley Benham Galley at the Handley Library in Winchester. On September 17th, the figures will be on display in the Handley Robinson Auditorium following a discussion from Dr. Joann Martin, co-founder of the museum, starting at 6:30PM.

Exhibition hours will run September 18-20 from 3PM-7PM, and September 21 10AM-2PM. Patrons can take selfies and post them on social media for a chance to win “book bucks” to use at the Fall Used Book Sale in October. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Handley Regional Library.