VA – Eastern Shore of Virginia
The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a narrow rural, southern, conservative, two county region (Accomack & Northampton), 70 miles long south/north, 5-15 miles wide east/west located on the southern tip of the Delmarva (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) peninsula. It is separated from mainland Virginia by a 17 mile bridge-tunnel, the expanse of the Chesapeake Bay to its west and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. Its total current population is estimated to be slightly over 43,000 with rapidly changing ethnic demographics. Northampton Co., population now less than 12,000, had been majority African American/Indigenous American from the first US census of 1790 until 2000, is now according to the 2010 census 36.8% African American/Indigenous American, 57.9% European American, 10.5% Central/Caribbean American, 1.4% “multiple” ethnicities, and 0.7% Asian American. Accomack Co., population now less than 33,000, has been majority European American from the first US census of 1790, is now according to the 2010 census 65.3% European American, 28.5% African American/Indigenous American, 14.7% Central/Caribbean American, 1.6% “multiple” ethnicities, and 0.6% Asian American.
In 2009 a gathering of African Americans and European Americans met to talk about issues of ethnicity (race) at a local, predominately European American, United Methodist church. Subsequently, a core group from this gathering along with interested others launched two annual highly successful professional historical musical vignette programs in two local county high schools that honored a strong local African American and a strong local European American woman, and four (4) strong historical non-local African American women (Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston, Clementine Hunter and Fannie Lou Hamer).
The next year at a June 10, 2010 screening of the film Traces of the Trade, some post-viewing comments were dismissive, hurtful, and insensitive, including, “They (African Americans) ought to be paying us (European Americans) reparations!” The African American organizer of the viewing called upon the aforementioned core group to form an Eastern Shore of Virginia (ESVA) Coming to the Table gathering to support her healing from the trauma of some of the hurtful comments voiced at the post-Traces of the Trade viewing. Three months later on Sept. 13, 2010 the first ESVA CTTT gathering of five folks was held at the home of one of her European American friends.
Since that time the ESVA CTTT gathering has met in various participants homes, predominately African American and predominately European American churches, the local public library, and an African American community meeting facility. Welcomed participants from as far away as southern Delaware, the western shore of Maryland, and Washington DC have attended. Participant numbers and ethnic compositions have and continue to vary, including but not limited to, meeting location, agenda topics, time and day of the week. Most recently, we have been meeting every other Wednesday at the predominately European American Franktown United Methodist Church. All are welcome at our ESVA CTTT gatherings.
See our upcoming meetings at the bottom of this page. If you have questions, reach out to our organizers here:
Upcoming Group Events:
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