Un/Bound: Free Black Virginians, 1619-1865

On Display
Exhibition Type
Limited Time Exhibition

Admission: Included with Museum Daily Admission

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This exhibition explores the lives of free Black Virginians from the arrival of the first captive Africans in 1619 to the abolition of slavery in 1865.  Through powerful objects and first-person accounts, visitors will discover how Virginia’s people of color achieved their freedom, established communities, and persevered within a legal system that recognized them as free but not equal. 

A Narrative of the Life of Rev. Noah Davis : A Colored Man / written by himself, at the age of fifty-four (Call Number BX6495.D28 A3)
A Narrative of the Life of Rev. Noah Davis: A Colored Man, written by himself, at the age of fifty-four

Noah Davis, born enslaved in Madison County in 1804, achieved his freedom in 1847.  He founded the Second Colored Baptist Church in Baltimore in 1848 and spent over a decade raising money to free his family members still held in bondage.  His memoir was published in part to earn funds to purchase the last of his children.

(VMHC Call Number BX6495.D28 A3)

Bring Un/Bound: Free Black Virginians, 1619-1865 to Your Location

A traveling version of this exhibition appropriate for display in libraries, schools, and museums will also be available. See our traveling exhibition page for details.


Presenting Sponsor
Commonwealth of Virginia
Presenting Sponsor
Google Data Centers
Supporting Sponsors
Melanie Trent De Schutter
PNC Foundation
Project Sponsor

Conrad Mercer Hall

Hungtington Ingalls Industries


Dr. Tamara Charity-Brown & Carlos M. Brown Exhibition Fund

Balfour Beatty

Carilion Clinics

Mr. & Mrs. W. Heywood Fralin

National Counseling Group

Thompson Hospitality

Washington Gas