Unsung Heroes

Project status

The Brookland Park Story

Our asset-mapping often reveals two of the most overlooked assets in community transformation – the young people, who have passion and energy – and the senior adults, who have wisdom and experience. Senior adults are the unsung heroes of our neighborhoods. They have persevered in some of the most challenged communities and have the wisdom to help our cities regain thier historically strong understanding of what it means to be a community.

Through partnerships with community-based arts and culture organizations, our multi-generational Unsung Heroes project helped residents of the Historic Brookland Park area share the stories of the “unsung heroes” of their neighborhood. Thanks to generous grants from CultureWorks and the Virginia Humanities, we were able to expand Unsung Heroes into a two year-long oral history and performing arts project.

Learn more through this Virginia Humanities article > read it here or through this WCVE Community Idea Stations feature > listen here.

Join us in celebrating the “Unsung Heroes” of Brookland Park.

We hope their stories – both past and present – inspire you.

Brookland Park Boulevard Project

An original song “Being Black in America” written by Vincent Conway, Deasia Brown, Tashawn Elam, Antione Ford, Jr., Tresean Gilliam, William Marrow, D’Monte Rustin, Jahonna Scott, and Joshua Tolbert (Cap).

Inspired by the Unsung Heroes of Brookland Park who carried the school integration movement forward in Richmond.

Video produced by Zane Robinson of Life’s Interpretation. Song recorded by Matt Miller (sound engineer) and Kelly Jones at DaSpot Recording Studio. Original beats produced by AL. B. ANYWHERE and The Komposer in SBD Entertainment@SBDRVA.com.

Sponsored by Embrace as part of their Unsung Heroes project. A special thank you to CultureWorks Richmond and Virginia Humanities for making this project possible.

Our Process
  • 1. Discovering the Gifts: Oral Story Telling Videos - Use this link  to view and/or listen to snapshots form dozens of interviews conducted as a part of the Unsung Heroes project. 
  • 2. Listening into Story: Writing Series – In the right navigation bar you will find the stories written by seniors and youth as a part of the writing series.  
  • 3. Reframing the Story: Music Series – Above you will find the youth written and produced music video that resulted from our youth reflecting on the history of their neighborhood as shared by our Unsung Heroes.
  • 4. Sharing the Story: On May 22nd, 2018 the stories came alive on the stage of Pine Camp Theater. While there is no video of the actual presentation, the stories above capture the narrative that emerged from this year long oral history project.  You can also hear some of our Unsung Heroes share their stories here.
  • 5. Applying the Lessons: In year two of this project, we partnered with Community High in the “Together we Rise Project”