In May 2019, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and its partner Virginia Humanities hosted a special Understanding Hampton Roads forum: A Conversation About Race With Dr. Beverly D. Tatum. It launched the new partnership between the Community Foundation and Virginia Humanities called Beneath the Surface: Race and the History of Race in South Hampton Roads.

Tatum, a psychologist and author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, will explore racial barriers that divide people. Dr. Tatum, president of Spelman College in Atlanta  for 13 years, wrote her ground-breaking book in 1997 to start a conversation in the United States about race. She updated the book in 2017 with new research.

Tatum facilitated a discussion about the role race and its history play in Hampton Roads. 




April Woodard, a television personality and host of Coast Live, served as a moderator for the conversation. She engaged Tatum and the audience in a series of probing questions about race relations in Hampton Roads as well as discuss how racial issues have impacted policy, public intuitions and local communities. Tatum also will discuss racial barriers that divide people and strategies that can be used to affirm racial identity as well as build bridges across racial lines.  

About Understanding Hampton Roads

Understanding Hampton Roads is the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s effort to advance civic engagement in Southeastern Virginia. It includes forums on key topics to help build understanding and inspire action that brings people together to help improve life in our region.

Event Host

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation is southeastern Virginia’s largest grant and scholarship provider. It has awarded more than $282 million since 1950 to make life better in Hampton Roads. The community foundation’s vision is a thriving community with opportunity for all.

Event Partner

Virginia Humanities was founded in 1974 as the Commonwealth of Virginia's humanities council. Headquartered at the University of Virginia, it connects Virginians with their history and culture and helps bring them closer together. It is one of 56 organizations created by the National Endowment for the Humanities.