I am honored to be chosen to design the official poster for the 32nd Annual Second Street Festival in Richmond, Virginia. The festival is held on Second Street in Jackson Ward, a historic area that was known as the "Harlem of the South" and "The Deuce" from the 1920s until around the 1960s. It was an area where African-Americans lived, owned property and businesses, and formed their own societies when they couldn't in many other parts of the city of Richmond because of segregation and racism. Until the area was razed by the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority and an all-white city council, African Americans flourished and thrived in this neighborhood. Famous African-American entertainers like Ethel Waters and Duke Ellington frequented the area after performing at the whites-only Mosque Theater. Jackson Ward raised greats like Maggie Walker, Bill Bojangles Robinson, and John Mitchell Jr.
I am excited for this opportunity because the festival celebrates a part of the African American story that is often left out of the American narrative. I now get to be a part of that story in the neighborhood where my great-grandmother grew up. I follow in the footsteps of great artists like Charles Bibbs, Larry Poncho Brown, and David Marion.
About the festival from Venture Richmond's website:
"The 2nd Street Festival celebrates the rich culture of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood. This FREE event takes place the first full weekend in October. Over the years, it has grown to be one of Richmond's favorite annual events and the Mid-Atlantic's largest street festivals. Nearly 30,000 people visit historic Jackson Ward to reminisce about the days when 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond's African-American community and was known as “the Harlem of the South.” Today, Jackson Ward continues to be a thriving Richmond neighborhood and community, and the 2nd Street Festival is an annual celebration and homecoming.
The 2nd Street Festival features four stages of live musical entertainment along with a Kidz Zone, popular food vendors, a marketplace and Artists Row to shop, the Richmond Metropolitan Antique Car Club, and walking tours given by Historic Jackson Ward Association."