Honoring Our Women Storytellers

BND Institute of Media and Culture Presents

Honoring Women Who Tell Our Stories

Come to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. to hear how three Richmond-area educators’ thirst for knowledge about family, church, community, education and justice made history.

Cathy M. Jackson, PhD., a journalism professor and historian at Norfolk State University, will moderate the discussion. A reception will follow. The program and reception are free and open to the public. Please register at EventBrite.

Elvatrice Belsches

Elvatrice Belsches, a Richmond native, historian and researcher, is curator of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia’s new exhibit, “Yesterday’s Stories, Today’s Inspiration,” that chronicles aspects of the African American experience.

Ms. Belsches, a researcher for the film “Lincoln,” has documented the African-American experience for decades. She also authored the pictorial publication, “Black America Series: Richmond, Virginia” ( Arcadia Publishing). In 2017, Ms. Belsches was asked to bring to life the Black History Museum exhibit. The exhibit opened in February 2018.


Elvatrice Belsches


“It covers themes as diverse as the early years, education, the early worship experience,” Ms. Belsches recently told Richmond’s NBC12. “(Museum visitors) are going to learn about the powerful roots of resistance and roots of success here. The exhibit has inspirational and incredible stories, told through photographs provided by repositories around the country, here in Virginia and by families themselves.”


Elizabeth Johnson Rice

 Elizabeth Johnson Rice was among 34 Virginia Union University students who were arrested in 1960 after they staged a sit-in at Thalhimers department store for its refusal to serve African-Americans in its restaurants.

This was the first mass-arrest in the civil rights movement. Mrs. Rice went on to represent the university on NBC’s Today Show, which was then hosted by Dave Garroway and Florence Henderson.

Elizabeth Johnson Rice

Elizabeth Johnson Rice

Her brother, Ford T. Johnson, Jr., was arrested with her during the 1960 sit-ins. His 1962 Supreme Court case (Johnson v. Commonwealth of Virginia) resulted in the desegregation of all public federal facilities in the United States.

A lifelong educator, Mrs. Rice also was one of the first black teachers to integrate “Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Va, where she met racism head-on. Her life was often threatened in spite of her courage, she says.

Mrs. Rice has committed to using such “life-changing experiences” to motivate others, young and old, to become more involved in their communities, cities, schools, and workplaces to create a spirit of harmony and empowerment. Mrs. Rice has shared her experiences on two PBS documentaries: “Civil Rights Heroes of Virginia” and “Trailblazers of Virginia.”

Two years ago Mrs. Rice stood at the site of the former Thalhimer’s store for a more celebratory reason: The unveiling of a Virginia historical marker commemorating the VUU students’ heroic actions 58 years ago. The marker, erected by the state Department of Historic Resources, is on East Broad Street between 7th and 8th streets, where Thalhimers once stood. The store closed in 1992 and was demolished in 2004.

During the installation ceremony Mrs. Rice said: “Just the fact we’re being remembered feels good. This historical marker will be here when we’re all gone.

Brenda Dabney Nichols

Brenda Dabney Nichols, a retired Henrico County Schools teacher, is the author of “African-Americans of Henrico County: 1863-1993” (2010). The book explores the origin and history of numerous African-American communities during and after slavery. Churches, civic organizations and schools that served Henrico’s black population are frequently cited in Mrs. Dabney’s book.

Several years ago, Mrs. Nichols and members of Henrico County’s Quioccasin and Westwood Baptist churches formed a committee to maintain and improve the status of three Henrico County cemeteries: Quioccasin, Westwood and Pryor (QWP) memorial

Brenda Nichols

Brenda Dabney Nichols

cemeteries. Many well-known Richmonders are buried in the western Henrico County cemeteries, including Tommy Edwards, the late R&B vocalist best known for his hit song, “It’s All in the Game.” The cemeteries also are final resting places for the late state Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert III, his brother, the late Richmond attorney Leonard Lambert and the late Rev. Paul Nichols, Mrs. Dabney’s husband.

Mrs. Nichols said Westwood and Quioccasin churches have shared cemeteries since the 1920s. The churches once were in close proximity to one another, she said, before Westwood moved to its current location on Glenburnie Road. The J.S. Pryor Sr. Memorial Cemetery was purchased in 1939 by his descendants for family members’ burials. Mrs. Nichols is the great granddaughter of Jesse Pryor.

The QWP committee then worked with the Henrico Department of Recreation and Parks and its Historic Preservation Advisory Committee to purchase and establish a historical marker for the cemeteries. The marker was placed on a median strip on Quioccasin Road in August 2016.

“We wanted something positive for the cemeteries,” Mrs. Nichols says. “We wanted to make sure their aesthetic appearance is maintained and we have made strides to (ensure) that.”








Honoring Our Women Storytellers

Come to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. to hear how three Richmond-area educators’ thirst for knowledge about family, church, community, education and justice made history.Flier for BHMVA March 31 -3-13

Looking back, moving forward

Greetings to each of you and thank you for visiting this site over the past several weeks. Thank you also for your patience as the BND Institute of Media and Culture continues to plan, produce and present programming in a new year that’s sure to be filled with new adventures and excitement!

Last year, 2017, began with a bang when the Institute brought in Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s to lead “A Master Class in Entrepreneurship.”


Miko Branch –Video Link

Several weeks later, the Institute explored the very intriguing aspects of “Dating in the Digital Age.”


Dating in the Digital Age

In September 2017, the BND Institute presented  “A Master Class in Jazz” with acclaimed musicians, saxophonist James “Saxsmo” Gates  and  the “Princess of Percussion” Taylor Moore.


A Master Class in Jazz – Video Link

Our intoxicating year ended with renowned journalist Angela P. Dodson, who discussed her book “Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box.”

In between and betwixt, Bonnie Newman Davis, the Institute’s founder and CEO, provided consulting services for organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists, the RVA Entrepreneurs Association, the Richmond Association of Black Journalists, the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance , The


Angela P. Dodson, Bonnie Newman Davis and Heather Anderson – Video Link

Richmond Free Press, Urban Views Weekly, Virginia Union University’s Center for the Study of the Urban Child, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and The Campaign for Youth Justice.

More importantly, Ms. Davis pursued her quest for the Institute to gain its nonprofit status. That goal was accomplished in January 2018, 16 months after the Institute was founded, with a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that the BND Institute of Media and Culture has been granted tax exempt status under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c) (3).

With our newfound status as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, our mission becomes all the more clear as we continue to  provide programs, services and training dedicated to educating and engaging diverse audiences about contemporary news media and its impact on African-American life and culture. Upcoming programs will include a memoir writing workshop, a summer writing workshop for youth, a master class in jazz session for youth, and a speakers series.

Last, but not least, the Institute must acknowledge and thank our incredible sponsors for their benevolence since our inception:

Afro Economics with JB Bryan

MLH Assets Management, LP

The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

Edit Services Inc.

L&Z Historic LLC

JADE Multicultural Salon

Maxamus Insurance Services, LLC

Virginia Union University’s Center for the Study of the Urban Child

The Walthall Family

We also are thankful for our Board of Directors: Dr. Linnie S. Carter, Dr. Cathy M. Jackson, Professor Wayne Dawkins and Erin D. Stanley.


Happy New Year!



RVA Entrepreneurs Host Inaugural Gala!


The RVA Entrepreneurs Association will host its  inaugural RVA Entrepreneurs’ Dinner, Dance and Networking Event on Dec. 16, 2017 at the Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, Va. This event will highlight the achievements of our members and other Richmond-area entrepreneurs who have worked tirelessly to build and create businesses that help boost our local, state and regional economies.

We anticipate having more than 100 entrepreneurs, who represent finance, healthcare, media, real estate and other professional services, celebrate their excellence during our inaugural event. Along with these entrepreneurs and their guests, we will welcome and recognize outstanding individuals and leaders who embody our core mission and objective to impart knowledge, understanding and unity among all communities, while displaying high ethical standards of conduct and sound discernment.

Also, in sharing our combined business acumen, expertise and resources with current and future entrepreneurs, the RVA Entrepreneurs will identify a charitable, nonprofit organization (FeedMore) to receive a portion of proceeds raised during our Dec. 16 event. Your assistance in this fundraising endeavor will be greatly appreciated.

For details, please visit Eventbrite.

Remember the Ladies Recap!

Journalist and author Angela P. Dodson discussed her new book, “Remember the Ladies” on Nov. 4, 2017 at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The riveting program was presented by the BND Institute of Media and Culture.


Angela P. Dodson

Event sponsors included AfroEconomics with J.B. Bryan and The Walthall Family. We salute Ms. Dodson for her diligence in providing such a valuable resource that adds to our nation’s ongoing conversation about politics, culture, gender equity and society. To view the YouTube video please click “Remember The Ladies”.


Angela P. Dodson’s ‘Remember the Ladies’

Drawing her title from Abigail Adams’ admonition to her husband as he prepared for the Second Continental Congress in 1776, Angela P. Dodson has compiled a rich history of women in American politics since the country’s beginning. In her new book, “Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box,” Dodson focuses on women’s fight to gain the vote, which they won just 100 years ago. 51C517r1qlLInformative and inspiring, Dodson’s Nov. 4 book discussion at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center in Richmond, Va. will draw comparisons to women’s past roles in politics to Hillary Clinton’s historic bid for the U.S. presidency in 2016. Ms. Dodson will sign copies of her book after her talk. This FREE program, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., is sponsored by AfroEconomics with JB Bryan and The Walthall Family.

Angela P. Dodson Bio

Ms. Dodson is an independent editor, writer and consultant. She founded an editorial services company, Editorsoncall LLC, http://www.editorsoncall.com in 2012, to link freelancers to clients in need of writing, editing, graphic and photographic services.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Marshall University and a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from the American University.

Ms. Dodson is a former senior editor and former Style editor for the New York Times. She has most recently been an online editor and book reviewer for DIVERSE: Issues In Higher Education, diverseeducation.com and diversebooks.net. She is the former executive editor of Black Issues Book Review. She has worked on several start-up publications and websites.

In recent years, Dodson has edited and ghost-written books for major publishers and numerous self-published authors of fiction and nonfiction. As an editor, Ms. Dodson has worked on such books as “In Charge: Finding the Leader in You,” by Myles Munroe and “He Is Risen: Reflections on Easter and the Forty Days of Lent,” by Richard Abanes. Her book development projects have included “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority” by Tom Burrell, and most recently, a history of reporters covering the Civil Rights Movement and the memoir of a pioneering female journalist.

1731623-294x300Ms. Dodson also has written and edited for various newspapers and magazines, including Essence and Heart & Soul. She has been a consultant for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and the Hampton University School of Communications. She has taught workshops on writing and editing for many organizations, including the National Black Writers Conference, the National Association of Black Journalists, the American Press Institute, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and various colleges. She has also been an adjunct instructor in media studies at Mercer County Community College.

A native of Beckley, West Virginia, Ms. Dodson was reared mostly in western and south-central Pennsylvania and returned as a teenager to West Virginia, where her father, William A. Dodson Sr., worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in Charleston and her mother, Kira Evelyn Dodson, worked as a seamstress.

Ms. Dodson is married to Michael I. Days, editor for reader engagement and vice president of the Philadelphia Media Network and author of “Obama’s Legacy: What He Accomplished as President.” He was most recently editor of The Philadelphia Daily News, and has served as managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The couple raised four sons, brothers they adopted in 1991.

Ms. Dodson is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the National Congress of Black Women, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Central New Jersey Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America.

She was also the host of an award-winning, radio program, “Black Catholics, Yes!” about black Roman Catholics for the Diocese of Trenton, NJ., formerly heard on 1300 WIMG and other stations, as well as on the Internet. She is a member of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament/Our Lady of the Divine, where she is in the gospel choir and is a lector and parish council member. Dodson is also a founding member and trustee of Commandry #598, Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of St. John International. She was a recipient of Bishop John Smith’s Nostrum Ecclesiam Tempus (Our Time to Be Church) Award in July 2007 and the National Black Catholic Congress Servant of Christ Award in 2012.

Her interests include collecting art, black collectibles and antiques. She enjoys reading history, researching genealogy, cooking, and line dancing.


An anniversary with Jazz!

How exciting for some Richmonders to have two phenomenal musicians rock the house while also teaching youngsters about the importance of jazz and preserving its legacy in our own communities! Thank you James Saxsmo Gates and Ms. Taylor Moore for sharing your talent and commitment during the BND Institute of Media and Culture’s one-year anniversary program on Sept. 30 at the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance on Grace Street in downtown Richmond.  David Dormeus and Andrew Webb, thank you as well for your skills on piano and bass guitar. Thanks, also, to everyone who came out to the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (RPAA) to help

make this program a success. A special thanks to my sponsors, Michael Harvey of MLH Assets Management LP and Zarina Fazaldin of L&Z Historic, LLC. You are AMAZING!

A Master Class in Jazz

RICHMOND, Va. — Legendary saxophone player James “Saxsmo” Gates and percussionist Taylor Moore continually regale audiences throughout the globe with their spectacular crowd-pleasing performances in jazz and other musical genres.

James Gates - Together We Can Make It-2

James “Saxsmo” Gates

On September 30, 2017, these two talented musicians will discuss the impact of music and media that led to their success during a lecture/demonstration, “A Master Class in Jazz for the Young and Not-So- Young.”

Presented by the BND Institute of Media and Culture and MLH Assets Management LP, the program is designed to spark an interest in jazz among students ages 10-16. However, all generations are encouraged to attend. The free program will take place from 10 a.m. – noon at the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance, 600 E. Grace Street, Richmond, Va.

Growing up in Richmond, Va., Gates was constantly surrounded by jazz. His father, the late James Bryant “Boo” Gates Sr., played saxophone for Della Reese’s band, and other


Taylor Moore

well-known musicians. Gates graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1978. He attended Virginia State University and later transferred under a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he graduated in 1984. Gates received his master’s degree in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University in 2011, and is the director/coordinator of the Dr. Billy Taylor Jazz Studies Program at Virginia State University.


Beloved by a legion of fans in his hometown, Gates has played and traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad, performing with such notable artists as Joe Kennedy, Jr., Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Walter Davis, Jr., Walter Bishop, Jr., The Temptations, Dianne Reeves, Jimmy Cobb, Hod O’Brien, Larry Willis, Roberta Flack, Marvin Gaye, Larry Carlton, Billy Kilson, Jeff Lorber, Alex Bugnon and The Main Ingredients.

Gates credits the forefathers and Masters of Jazz for his musical foundation and passes it along every chance he gets by serving as a teacher and instructor of jazz. He has released several CDS featuring artists such as Fred Wesley, Freddie Fox and Walter Beasley. Gates celebrated the release of his single, “Together We Can Make It,” on Sept. 8, 2017.


Born and raised in Chicago, Taylor Moore’s home was filled with various musical genres, whether it boomed from the radio or emanated from the record collection owned by her mother, Trudy Moore, a former entertainment writer for Jet magazine.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in music performance and production.

Dubbed The Princess of Percussion, Moore has played with a multitude of great musicians such as Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Shirley Alston Reeves of the Shirelles, jazz fusion artists Roy Ayers, Boney James, Shelia E. and Patrice Rushen, gospel greats Marvin Winans and the late Andre Crouch, as well as jazz icons Kurt Elling, Jimmy Cobb and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson.

“Taylor Moore has a rare and glorious gift! I’m enthralled with her technique, movement and passion,” exclaims Wilson.

Saxophonist Boney James shows equal excitement and praise for Moore’s talent.

“When she is performing, she’s IN IT and that comes off the stage,” says James. “She has a lot of charisma and stage presence!”

Contact: Bonnie Newman Davis


804 683-7203

The BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc. provides programs, services and training dedicated to educating
and engaging diverse audiences about contemporary news media and its impact on African-American life and culture.

Spending time at Anna Julia Cooper




Bonnie Newman Davis, Melissa Harris Perry, Sherri Williams

Bonnie Newman Davis, founder and CEO of the BND Institute of Media and Culture, spent some time in early June 2017 at the Anna Julia Cooper Center’s Faculty Writing Retreat at Wake Forest University.  Melissa Harris Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, is the executive director of the Pro Humanitate Institute and founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center.

Faculty members from several universities assembled for a week at the AJC to either catch up on or fine tune writing projects. What an amazing opportunity to kindle the imagination and intellectualism while surrounded by dedicated scholars in a lovely facility that commemorates Anna Julia Cooper.

Cooper, 1858-1964, was an  American author, educator, sociologist, speaker, Black Liberation activist, and one of the most prominent African-American scholars in United States history.  Professor Perry and her staff, who exemplify and epitomize Cooper’s work, were wonderful hosts and made themselves readily available for questions while dispensing pools of knowledge and wisdom both humorous and serious.  I took plenty of notes with the intent of soon having  The BND Institute of Media and Culture host a similarly rewarding fellowship program!



Epic Tales Update

What a great time we had on May 11 at the gorgeous Libbie Mill Library where the BND Institute of Media and Culture hosted a lively discussion about the ups and downs of digital dating. Stay tuned for some takeaways from the discussion. Thanks so much to our guest panelists: Dr. Teshana Henderson, Alphonso “Matt” Mathis, Janna M. Hall, Heidi Wilson and our moderator Raymond Hawkes. Special thanks to Michael Harvey of MLH Assets Management LC and Vinara Mosby of Maxamus Insurance for their sponsorship and support. Thanks also to Jay Ell Alexander for her marketing finesse! Finally, a huge thanks to our attendees who braved the rain and chilly temps to join our discussion!