DNA, Data, Deeds & Dust

Genealogy 101: Climbing Your Family Tree

Discovering your family’s unique story is like solving a puzzle. However, getting started can sometimes seem daunting. Join us on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Libbie Mill Library to learn more about your family’s history. The program is free and open to the public. This discussion, led by Bessida Cauthorne White, an author and genealogist, will provide tips and strategies for beginning family research. It will include an overview of basic genealogy terms and tools, the use of public and private records, internet sources, oral history, and DNA. Attention will be given to the challenges associated with researching African-American families. Libbie Mill Library is located 2100 Libbie Lake E. St. Richmond, Va. 23230.

geneaology flierBrief Biography of Bessida Cauthorne White

Bessida Cauthorne White (B.S., J.D.) has been a genealogist for nearly 40 years. She is the family historian for nine of her families and manages DNA results for more than thirty family members and friends. She is co-founder and president of Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society and a founder of the Greater Richmond Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. In 2015, she chaired the National Conference of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Held in Richmond, this is the only  national gathering of African-American genealogists to have been held in Virginia.

White is the editor of A Reunion of Recipes: The White Family Cookbook (1990), co-editor of Help Yourself! There’s a God’s Mighty Plenty: A Treasury of Recipes from the Cauthorne & Brooks Families (First Edition 2000 and Second Edition 2017), and co-editor of Gather at the Welcome Table: The Angel Visit Baptist Church Sesquicentennial Cookbook. She  has recently undertaken the task of identifying persons who were enslaved at Menokin and their present-day descendants. Menokin, located in Richmond County, Virginia, was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee,.a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
An activist, retired attorney, and lay historian, she is president of the board of the Rappahannock Industrial Academy Alumni Association and serves on the boards of the Middlesex County Museum & Historical Societyand the Library of Virginia Foundation. White is a member of the Menokin African American Advisory Work Group and serves as church historian and vice-chair of the trustee board at Angel Visit Baptist Church, Dunnsville, Virginia.



Say ‘YES’ to 2019!

Jumpstart 2019 with Shonda Rhimes’ “Year of Yes” during this exciting literary salon led by best-selling author and writing coach Stacy Hawkins Adams. Stacy will inspire your renewed sense of self. Ms Rhimes’ book will propel you to “Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person!”stacy flyer jan 6

In Year of Yes, (2015) the mega-talented creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” and executive producer of “How to Get Away With Murder” chronicles the powerful impact saying “yes” had on every aspect of her life—and how we can all change our lives with one little word. “YES.”

Leading up to this program,  presented by the BND Institute of Media and Culture, participants are encouraged to buy or borrow the “Year of Yes” to read now and between late January! As you read, you’ll want to keep a journal to note your thoughts and ideas.

Because this program is limited to 20 people, you’ll want to purchase your ticket as soon as possible. Tickets are $25 per person and lunch will be included in the ticket price.

Please contact bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com for additional information.


Homewood Suites Richmond West

4100 Innslake Drive 

Glen Allen, Virginia 23060


Luncheon Sponsor – MLH Assets Management

About Stacy Hawkins Adams

Stacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author and journalist who loves to inform, entertain and inspire readers through the written word.

She has a gift for weaving tales in both the fiction and nonfiction genres, and in both faith-based and secular markets, that help readers thrive and grow confident in their own stories.

Stacy has penned 10 books – nine women’s fiction novels and one nonfiction faith-based devotional book. Her fiction features themes related to personal growth, self-esteem, matters of faith, forgiveness, friendships and family, and some of the books have been featured reading selections in high school and college courses. Her most recent novel, Finding Home, was released in March 2016.  It is the third novel in her Winds of Change series, but is a stand-alone title that does not have to be read in order. Other recent titles include Lead Me Home (recipient of a Publisher’s Weekly starred review); Coming Home (a 2012 Target stores Recommended Read); The Someday List (an Essence magazine bestseller), and Dreams That Won’t Let Go (a 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Award finalist). Her nonfiction book, Who Speaks To Your Heart? gives women practical tips and inspiration on how to connect more deeply with God.


Looking back, moving forward

The past several weeks have been busy!

November 2018 ushered in a visit to my alma mater, N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C. From 2011 until 2015, I served as the Greensboro News & Record/Janice Bryant Howroyd Endowed Professor of Journalism at A&T. I later served as a visiting professor at in the School of Media and Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill before returning to Richmond, Va., where I first moved to 1981.IMG_9424

During my visit to A&T on homecoming weekend, I enjoyed seeing several of my former students who’ve taken on the world, as ‘Aggies Do.’ They included Ashleigh Wilson, of the Arizona Republic; Kourtney Smith, Google; Ziris Savage; CBS News 2 Greensboro; Courtney Henderson, A&T public relations. Also, in addition to catching up with former classmates, I toured my alma mater’s new $90 million student center where the interior steps are painted Aggie gold. The new center replaces the university’s former student union, a place where I hung out as an undergrad commuter student.

After returning to Richmond, the BND Institute began preparing for the holidays by presenting the Nov. 13, 2018  program, “Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking. ”

This riveting program was inspired by the 2018 release of the book, “Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original.”  The book pays homage to Ms. Lewis, one of America’s beloved chefs who was born not far from Richmond in Freetown, (Orange County) Virginia.

9781469638553.jpgMs. Lewis, who died in 2006 at age 89, left a legacy and love of cooking that lives on in her seminal cookbooks that the New York Times says  “revived the nearly forgotten genre of Clarinex while offering a glimpse into African-American farm life in the early 20th century.” Her cookbooks include: The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972), The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) and In Pursuit of Flavor (1988).

The BND institute’s November program featured local and regional culinary experts who discussed why chefs such as Ms. Lewis continue to inspire legions of novice and experienced cooks. IMG_0783Mikki Spencer, host, the Virginia Lottery Draw Show and a legendary Richmond, Va. radio and media personality, was the evening’s moderator. Guest chefs and culinary experts included  Herman Baskerville, chef, owner of Big Herm’s Kitchen; Betty Thompson Morton, kitchen culinary consultant, cookbook author (formerly of Reynolds Kitchens);  Keva Miller, chef and owner of FEEDSHINE LLC. Jeremy Carry, of Sun Path Family Farm located in South Richmond, also discussed how he and his partner, Alia Chambers, are diligently working their urban gardening skills to help provide nutritious vegetable to Richmonders far and near.

After the discussion, delicious fried turkey, sweet potato casserole and green beens were served by Big Herm and Leanne Fletcher, while Keva served up a tasty garbanzo bean mash up.

A special thank you to our sponsors, John R. Rich, Michael L. Harvey, MLH Assets LP, NDUTIME Youth and Family Services, and Vinara Mosby, Maxamus Insurance.

We also appreciate these volunteers for helping to make our program a success: Meldon Jenkins-Jones, Law Librarian, Richmond Public Library; Dexter Johnson, multimedia journalist; Kendall Johnson, photographer; Latika Johnson, public relations; Renee Johnson, Rebekah Pierce, Alphonso “Matt” Mathis, Robin Walston and  Morgann Williams.

Enjoy these photos of the program. A video will soon be posted.

December To Do’s

After many of us shared the blessings of Thanksgiving meals, family, friends and loved ones, in came December accompanied by its usual hustle and bustle. For friends of the BND Institute of Media and Culture, the hustle was real as we prepared for a Dec. 5 discussion of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming.” Members of several Richmond, Va. -area book clubs met at Henrico’s Libbie Mill Library to discuss this mesmerizing book. IMG_9677What a perfect and timely gift for  young couples, young families, parents, siblings, African-American professionals, youth seeking to find their way (coming of age), close friends and grandparents. You heard it first from me: Virtually NO topic is left uncovered in “Becoming.”  This book is brutally honest, deeply personal and brilliantly executed. Thank you, Michelle Obama. (And Barry, too. 🙂 )

We enjoyed a fun, thought-provoking evening while discussing “Becoming.” Book club president and avid reader Renee Johnson led the discussion with questions that prompted attendees to share aspects of their lives similar to those detailed by Mrs. Obama about her own upbringing. One question we forgot to ponder: Will a movie of the book be made and if so, who should portray Michelle Obama. (Regina King MUST be somewhere in the lineup).

What’s next for the BND Institute of Media and Culture?

The institute is partnering with multi-published author Stacy Hawkins Adams to invite Richmond-area readers to read (or re-read) Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, “Year of Yes,” stacy adamsbetween December and early February, so that they can join Stacy on Feb. 9, 2019 for a reading and writing experience that involves the book. Attendees will discuss the themes in “Year of Yes,” then use their take-aways as prompts in a brief writing workshop led by Stacy.  Attendees will leave inspired and armed with a personally written manifesto to guide them through 2019.  The session is limited to 20 participants.

Date: Feb. 9, 2019

Time: 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Place: Homewood Suites, Richmond West,

 4100 Innslake Drive, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060

Cost: $25 (includes lunch)

Please register at Eventbrite.




Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking

When the holidays arrive,  families and foodies everywhere delight in mouth-watering home-cooked meals that feed mind, body and soul. Speaking of soul, that’s what you’ll find in the hearts and kitchens of many African-Americans who hold fast to holiday cooking traditions that have endured generations. Nowhere is this more evident than the 2018 release of the book, “Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original.” The book pays homage to Ms. Lewis, one of America’s beloved chefs who was born not far from Richmond in Freetown, (Orange County) Virginia.

9781469638553.jpgMs. Lewis, who died in 2006 at age 89, left a legacy and love of cooking that lives on in her seminal cookbooks that the New York Times says  “revived the nearly forgotten genre of Clarinex while offering a glimpse into African-American farm life in the early 20th century.” Her cookbooks include: The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972), The Taste of Country Cooking (1976) and In Pursuit of Flavor (1988).

Join us as local and regional food experts discuss why chefs such as Ms. Lewis continue to inspire legions of novice and experienced cooks. Our panel of food experts will include Herman Baskerville, chef, owner of Big Herm’s Kitchen; Betty Thompson Morton, kitchen culinary consultant, cookbook author (formerly of Reynolds Kitchens);  Keva Miller, chef and owner of FEEDSHINE LLC.

The BND Institute of Media and Culture Inc.


Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking


Inspired by the book: “Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original”

This program is free and open to the public.


Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018

6 p.m.

 Richmond Public Library

101 East Franklin Street

Richmond, Virginia 23219

Enjoy samples of holiday dishes following the discussion


Program sponsors: John R. Rich, Senior Investments Manager; Michael L. Harvey, MLH Assets LP;  NDUTIME Youth and Family Services.

Pens Up, Fears Down with Sadeqa Johnson



The BND Institute of Media and Culture Presents “Pens Up, Fears Down: Write Now!” led by award-winning author Sadeqa Johnson.In this class, we will massage the knots and unravel the tales traveling through your head. We will explore memory, character and story with writing exercises that will inspire you to put your fears down and get the writing onto the page. This class is for those who have a desire to write but need a gentle push and loving environment to get started, and for writers who need to dedicate some time to improving the craft of writing. All levels are welcome.

This class is limited to 10 people.

When: September 22, 2018

Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Rolling Hills Subdivision (adjoining Chamberlayne Farms), Richmond, Va. 23227

Cost: $50 per person (includes lunch and beverages)

Register at Eventbrite by Sept. 15, 2018

Contact: Bonnie Newman Davis, bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com



About the Author and Instructor

 Sadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. She is the author of Love in a Carry-on BagSecond House From the Corner and And Then There Was Me. Her awards include, a Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction, Black Pearl Magazine Author of the Year, and the NBCC Author of the year for best fiction. She is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, a Kimbilio Fellow, motivational speaker, half marathon runner, sometimes yogi, wife and mother of three wonderful children.

A Look Back: Summer Media Camp 2018


Johari Edwards discusses his poetry with Johnathan Dyer for a podcast episode.

The BND Institute-Ephesus Summer Media Camp has ended and what a great two weeks we had! Each weekday, from July 16-27 , 2018, our 12 students in middle and high school learned about journalism basics while exploring multi-platform reporting and new media technology, enabling them to create work to be displayed via a digital presence.

Mikayla Martin and Karina McClatchie discover the joys of urban gardening.

In addition, our students increased their confidence as they learned about media literacy and gained more awareness about their individual and collective communities.
In between writing, editing  and exploring their video skills with the assistance of media professionals, students visited Richmond media outlets such as NBC12-Richmond and Padilla, a global communications firm. Special treats included a visit to Sun Path Family Farm, an urban garden that is putting a dent in one of Richmond’s many food deserts, and a master class with Emmy-award winning filmmaker Jesse Vaughan. Students also enjoyed meeting Juan Conde of WRIC-TV8 Richmond, Clovia Lawrence of Radio One, Tammie Smith of The Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Kym Grinnage, general manager, NBC 12.
Our inaugural program would not have been successful without the support of so many friends, colleagues, supporters, parents and our students! We extend a special “Thank You” to sponsors John R. Rich, James A. Newman, Jr., Dr. Linnie S. Carter, Cheyenne Moss, Vinara Mosby, Michael Harvey and Linda Jackson Shaw.  We also appreciate the guidance and support provided by Dr. Gary Banks, senior minister, Ephesus SDA Church, Ms. Billie Webb,  and Mrs. Saundra Rollins, our lead volunteer. Thanks also to our instructors, Dr. Cathy M. Jackson of Norfolk State University, Dr. Randy Davis, Global Media LLC., and Dexter Johnson, a multimedia journalist who is a 2013 graduate of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism @ Hampton University. Also, kudos to our hard-working volunteers, freelance writer Morgann Williams and Jay Adams of Collegiate School.

Campers learn how drones can help deliver news.

We TRULY appreciate Karla Redditte of NBC12 – Richmond for coming out to capture our camp for an amazing news segment that aired Aug. 3, 2018. Click here to view the video.



NBC 12’s Karla Redditte captured the media camp. She’s pictured with Bonnie Newman Davis, executive director of The BND Institute of Media and Culture.

Finally, please enjoy this excellent video created by Dexter Johnson.  A website featuring our campers’ work is being updated and the link soon will be made available for interested audiences.

Reminder: We will begin accepting applications for next  year’s media camp in March 2019.
Again, thank you for your support.
Bonnie Newman Davis
Executive Director
BND Institute of Media and Culture

Summer Media Camp for Students July 16-27, 2018

Amplifying Their Voices

The BND Institute of Media and Culture’s Multimedia Summer Journalism Program, in partnership with Ephesus Junior Academy, combines journalism and multi-platform media technology for students in grades 8 through 12 to create and display their work via an online presence. In addition, students will build their confidence as they learn about media literacy and gain more awareness about their individual and collective communities. This program will tap into and explore students’ creativity, writing, editing and video skills. Students will work with  professional media writers, editors, videographers and special guests who will lead them through various aspects of digital storytelling. Click HERE for application. For more information , contact Bonnie Newman Davis at bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com.

Summer Camp Flyer3

Color Him Father: A son reflects on his trailblazing dad

Color Him Father Podcast




“Some of his players include (the late) Sen. Dr. Benjamin Lambert Sr.and Kermit Blount, former head coach at Winston Salem State University to name just a few,” says Paul J. Lawrence, the son of the late Angier “Horse” Lawrence. “(My father) said what he meant and meant what he said. Everyone loved to hear him lay folks out… unless he was talking to you. And I was not immune to that because I was his son.” 


Paul J. Lawrence

Join us  June 16, 2018 @ the Richmond Public Library as Richmonder Paul J. Lawrence, president of the Richmond, Va. chapter of the N.C. A&T State University Alumni Association, reflects on the lessons learned from his trailblazing father, the late Angier “Horse” Lawrence. After Mr. Lawrence’s presentation, attendees may share their own reflections of their fathers or other significant men who helped shape  their lives.

Paul Lawrence

Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Paul J. Lawrence’s parents were two educators whose early emphasis on the importance of education and learning was not lost on their child. Paul attended Richmond’s Benedictine High School where he excelled in the military and academics. At Benedictine, Paul was the first black cadet to achieve the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the school’s history.  While there, he also was a three-time state discus champion and, upon graduation, he received a full ROTC Scholarship.

Paul used that scholarship at North Carolina A&T State University where he majored in mechanical engineering. With an career that spans some 22 years in the United States and internationally, Paul currently works as an engineer at AMF Bakery Systems in Richmond. His impressive design portfolio includes work with Walt Disney Imagineering with rides in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida. His aerospace work for Zodiac Aerospace has been used by Gulfstream Airbus and Boeing.

Paul currently is the president of the Richmond Chapter of the North Carolina A&T Alumni Association. He is also on the Stem Board of advisors of the Chesterfield County School system.

Most of Paul’s time outside of work is spent mentoring young people and following sports such as Formula One Racing and Football.


Angier “Horse” Lawrence


Mr. Lawrence was born in Durham, North Carolina and graduated from North Carolina College in 1949. He joined the coaching staff at NCC. He later earned his Master’s degree from New York University in Health and Physical Education and joined the faculty at Huntington High School in Newport News, Virginia. In 1953, Coach Lawrence began coaching football, basketball, track and baseball at Virginia Randolph High School. He was there for 15 years. In 1957 “Horse” became a CIAA Basketball Official, where he delighted spectators and players until 1988. He served as an official in many NCAA regional tournaments, VHSL tournaments, CIAA and MEAC tournaments.

In 1968 Coach Lawrence moved to Richmond Public Schools’ Armstrong High School to fill the head football coaching position vacated by the retirement of Maxie C. Robinson. He served until 1979, when he became head of the school’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. He served in this position at the time of his death.

Date and Time:

June 16

10 a.m.

Richmond Public Library

101 East Franklin Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219.

Refreshments will be provided.

Register @ EventBrite

*Sponsored by the BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc., AfroEconomics with JB Bryan, Michael L. Harvey, MLH Assets Management, LP