High-technology and entertainment sectors create large-scale businesses in the Commonwealth. For more details, visit the National Black Business Month reference or consult Year of Jubilee: State of Black Business tenth edition.
Virginia grew its black business ranks 54 percent to 63,399 in 2007, according to preliminary estimates from the Survey of Business Owners. The 2002 total was 41,165. Receipts grew to $5.3 billion from $3.7 billion.
Our latest report, Silicon Ceiling 8, finds:
Over four percent of the black work force in Virginia worked in computer, engineering and science
fields with 2.4 percent in computer occupations.
Virgnia had 116,147 black college and graduate students in 2006 of whom fewer than 900 were
graduate students in science and engineering.
A real milestone was dedicated July 21, the Virginia Civil Rights Monument, one of the first of its kind at any state capitol, particularly in the South. The monument recalls the legacy of the late Oliver Hill Sr., one of the lawyers for Brown vs. Board of Education, the school children of Prince Edward County, where schools were closed rather than to be integrated and other iconic moments in the state’s history.
When I lived in Richmond, I used to quip that the city and region did not dwell in the past, it wasn’t even past yet. Large parts of the city still clung to the attitudes that made it the capital of the Confederacy. I was a reporter for the Richmond AFRO-AMERICAN who wrote the story when blacks took over a majority of City Council in 1977 and was press secretary for the launch of L. Douglas Wilder’s campaign to become lieutenant governor in 1985.
Yet even after Wilder became governor, there was strong opposition to creating a monument to one of the world’s most beloved figures, Arthur Ashe. I later became editor of the Richmond AFRO, editing its centennial edition in 1983 and it gave me great inspiration to study its original editor, John J. Mitchell, who had to contend with the fight against lynching. As a landmark to him, we had the city name the intersection where the paper was housed John Mitchell Square.
But just three doors down the street was the office of Hill, Tucker and Marsh, a prodigious set of civil rights lawyers who had been at the forefront of every major civil rights legal victory since the 1940s. To see Hill memorialized on the State Capitol grounds where the Confederate flag was the major adornment is a real testament to faith and dedication.
The leader of the Prince Edward civil rights struggle, L. Francis Griffin, was still writing a column 40 years later when I served at the AFRO. His effort made a difference in lives such as those of Adm. David Brewer, now superintendent of Los Angeles public schools, one of the students who was barred from getting a public education.
Let the monument help bring some long-needed economic justice to Richmond, where blacks are now being gentrified after a long period of redlining in the downtown areas, particularly now that gas prices are reducing the lure of the suburbs.
Places to stay in Virginia that are black-owned or managed include:
Lady Neptune Bed and Breakfast Inn 507 North First St. Hampton, Virginia 23664
Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast 232 S. Armistead Ave. Hampton, Virginia
Rockland Farm Retreat 3609 Lewiston Rd. Bumpass, Virginia 23024
Sheraton Norfolk-Waterfront 777 Waterside Drive Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Towne Place Suites Sterling 21123 Whitfield Place Sterling, Virginia 20165
Villa Bella Vista Inn 50 Cottage Drive Luray Virginia 22835