The University of Richmond Downtown will open a new exhibition titled “PROTEST! A Richmond History” as part of RVA First Fridays on April 6 at 5 p.m.

This new exhibition surveys 26 protests throughout Richmond’s history, organized into five topics: Racial Justice, Gender and LGBTQ Rights, Economic Justice, War and Peace and Whose History?. Spanning four centuries, the featured protests include Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, the first Richmond gay and lesbian rights rally, Black Lives Matter and the March on Monument. Protest posters, buttons, vinyl records, clothing, photographs and other artifacts will be on display throughout the exhibition.

PROTEST! A Richmond History is curated by twelve American Studies majors at the University of Richmond. The students are a part of a class led by Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and American Studies, and Alexandra Byrum, assistant director of communications for the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement and UR Downtown.

“Richmond is not often thought of as a city of protest, but there is a long history of dissent that has defined and continues to shape our community,” said Sackley. “This exhibition aims to capture this enduring history of protest and connect visitors to the way it has formed the diverse city that we live in today.”

“Reflecting on protest from a historical perspective this semester has been powerful,” said Shira Smillie, a UR senior who helped curate this exhibition. “It’s exciting to engage the community in the same questions we’ve been wrestling with as students. Who gets the right to protest? Where does protest happen? Why do you protest?”

UR Downtown’s Wilton Companies Gallery, located at 626 E. Broad St., is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Following the opening at RVA First Fridays, this exhibition will run April 6 through September 1. For more information, visit www.blog.richmond.edu/rvaprotest.

# # #

Assistant Director, Communications and UR Downtown
Associate Professor of History and American Studies
Coordinator, American Studies Program
Program Coordinator of Humanities in A&S
United States and the World
U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History