Writer Anna Journey

Writer Anna Journey was recently interviewed for VCU News. A VCU creative writing alumna who now teaches at University of Southern California, she is becoming well now for her poetry and essays. Her latest work, “An Arrangement of Skin”, is receiving a lot of praise.

In the interview, she is asked about her time at VCU-

Living in Richmond, too, profoundly influenced my development as a writer. I moved from Northern Virginia to Richmond when I was 18 and left for my doctoral studies in Texas just before I turned 27. So I came of age in Richmond, became more of my adult self there. I don’t think I recognized how thoroughly the character of the city shaped my sensibility until I’d moved away. I lived for a number of years in Oregon Hill, just three blocks down from the Sothern Gothic sprawl of Hollywood Cemetery, so that landscape — of mortality, of lavish visual and historical density — lodged itself in my consciousness.

Illegal Parking From RiverRock Crowds

Despite previous complaints and subsequent meetings with City, police, and Venture Richmond, Oregon Hill is still experiencing some issues with illegal parking during the annual Dominion RiverRock festival.

The problems are most evident around Riverside Park and the southern portions of the neighborhood. The City acquired the land which became Riverside Park in 1889. Neighbors don’t want historic Riverside Park to become a de facto parking lot the way Monroe Park was before being privatized.

‘Dirtwoman’ Documentary Benefit

There is documentary being filmed for one of Oregon Hill’s most infamous progeny and Richmond’s most famous drag queen, Donny Corker, aka ‘Dirtwoman.’ In order to raise funds and capture memories, the Sound of Music studio, now in Scott’s Addition (1710 Altamont Ave.), will be holding ‘Dirtwoman Toast’ on Sunday, May 21, at 7 pm. The admission cost is $10.Part of the proceeds will go to producing the documentary and part of them will go to Corker to help defray medical cost hardships.

Excerpts from recent Style article:

Everyone over a certain age has a Dirtwoman story. Corker’s antics as Richmond’s most well-known 400-lb. drag queen are legendary, from the 1993 pin-up calendar to running for mayor, to his years as Mrs. Claus at the annual Hamaganza. Just as noteworthy is Corker’s pre-Stonewall role-modeling: He’s been unabashedly out as gay since he was a teenager.

In the works is a documentary about Dirtwoman that began 15 years ago on the occasion of Corker’s 50th birthday with an event at Caffeine’s featuring go-go boys, drag queens and people sharing their own Dirtwoman tales. Now at 65 and with major health issues, Corker’s life story is on track to finally be completed by local video producer, Jerry Williams.

“This is the culmination of my 45 years as a video producer and director,” Williams says of the passion project. “I’ve never had a story that I was willing to commit a year of my life to making, but this is it.”

For those who missed Dirtwoman’s glory years, the Toast is also an opportunity to hear anecdotes from a life so colorful that even John Waters’ biggest star, Divine, was a fan. And for those curious about how the name Dirtwoman originally came about, let’s just say it involved some inappropriate behavior in the back seat of a cop car and leave it at that.

From the FaceBook event page:

The TOAST is being held to compile stories from Donnie’s fans for the documentary. Everyone who attends will be invited to spend a few minutes on stage with Donnie to pay tribute and share their favorite memories. There will also be a special “private” studio for people who would prefer not to go on stage. People are encouraged to bring any pertinent photos or other memorabilia.
To have an idea of timing, Williams requests that people who want to speak, please email him at TVJerry@TVJerry.com.

Open High Is On The List- Press Release On Proposal for Tax Credits For Schools

Press release today:

CONTACT: Rachel Cohen (Warner), 202-228-6884; Sarah Peck (Kaine) 202-228-1174


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Budget Committees, and Mark R. Warner, a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, will introduce the School Infrastructure Modernization Act to spur public and private investment in renovating active historic school buildings. This legislation amends the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit to apply to school buildings that continue to operate as schools. Under current law, the credit applies only for buildings renovated to serve a different function than before. This bill would waive this ‘prior use’ clause for school renovation projects, allowing school districts with aging infrastructure and tight budgets to partner with private entities to finance renovations that the districts otherwise would not be able to afford.

As Mayor of Richmond, Kaine led a coalition that found a novel way to apply the historic tax credit to finance the renovation of a closed public school and reopen it as the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, today one of America’s highest-performing public high schools. Older schools can often be renovated for less money than the cost of new construction. Preservation of historic schools provides students safe and modern facilities in which to learn; supports construction jobs; and maintains the historic character of communities. Warner has previously introduced this legislation with former U.S. Senator Jim Webb along with a dozen bipartisan House sponsors.

“When I was Mayor of Richmond, we used the historic tax credit to help repair and reopen a historic high school, turning it into a jewel of the public school system,” said Kaine. “This bill would make it easier for other cities and towns across Virginia and the country to rehab their own historic schools. This is a commonsense way to give students safer, modern spaces in which to learn while supporting construction jobs.”

“If we want our students to succeed, we need to invest in their learning facilities. This bill is a commonsense solution that creates a pathway for schools with tight budgets to receive the resources they need to renovate and modernize,” said Warner. “Many of these schools qualify as historic buildings, and under this legislation, those schools would be empowered to form private-public partnerships to increase classroom capacity and offer jobs to the surrounding community.”

The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program has played a role in rehabilitating historic structures and revitalizing communities for more than 35 years. In the Commonwealth alone, the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) has helped restore more than 1,200 structures since 1997. According to a 2013 analysis, approximately 40% of K-12 schools in Virginia – more than 800 schools – are at least 50 years old.

Examples of current and former Virginia schools that could be eligible for this tax credit are:

· Bland County – Rocky Gap High
· Bland County – Bland Elementary
· Bland County – Bland High
· Bland County – Rocky Gap Elementary
· Bristol City – Virginia Middle
· Bristol City – Stonewall Jackson Elementary
· Bristol City – Highland View Elementary
· Buchanan County – Grundy High
· Carroll County – Carroll County Education Center
· Grayson County – Grayson County High
· Grayson County – Fairview Elementary
· Grayson County – Bridle Creek Elementary
· Grayson County – Baywood Elementary
· Lee County – St. Charles Elementary
· Lee County – Flatwoods Elementary
· Lee County – Thomas Walker High
· Lee County – Jonesville Middle
· Pulaski County – Claremont Elementary
· Roanoke City – Addison Aerospace Magnet Middle
· Roanoke City – Woodrow Wilson Middle
· Roanoke City – Hurt Park Elementary
· Roanoke City – Breckinridge Middle
· Roanoke City – Stonewall Jackson Middle
· Roanoke City – Wasena Elementary
· Roanoke City – Morningside Elementary
· Roanoke City – Forest Park Academy
· Roanoke City – Forest Park Elementary
· Roanoke City – Noel C. Taylor Academy
· Roanoke City – Special Situation Schools
· Roanoke County – Clearbrook Elementary
· Roanoke County – Fort Lewis Elementary
· Roanoke County – Fort Lewis Elementary School
· Roanoke County – Back Creek Elementary
· Russell County – Lebanon Elementary
· Russell County – Castlewood Elementary
· Russell County – Castlewood High
· Russell County – Dante Elementary
· Russell County – Swords Creek Elementary
· Russell County – Cleveland Elementary
· Russell County – Belfast Elk Garden Elementary Annex
· Smyth County – Atkins Elementary
· Smyth County – Sugar Grove Combined
· Washington County – Washington Co. Technical
· Wise County – Union High
· Wise County – Central High
· Wythe County – Fort Chiswell High
· Wythe County – George Wythe High
· Wythe County – Rural Retreat Middle
· Wythe County – Sheffey Elementary
· Wythe County – Speedwell Elementary
· Clarke County – Boyce Elementary
· Clarke County – Berryville Primary
· Clarke County – D.G. Cooley Elementary
· Covington City – Covington High
· Rockingham County – John C. Myers Elementary
· Rockingham County – Linville-Edom Elementary
· Rockingham County – Dayton Learning Center
· Warren County – 15th Street School
· Warren County – A.S. Rhodes Elementary
· Winchester City – Garland R. Quarles Elementary
· Brunswick County – James S. Russell Middle
· Charlotte County – Early Learning Center
· Charlotte County – Bacon District Elementary
· Charlotte County – old Phenix Elementary
· Greensville County – Greensville County High
· Henry County – Sanville Elementary
· Henry County – Axton Elementary
· Henry County – John Redd Smith Elementary
· Lunenburg County – Kenbridge Elementary
· Lunenburg County – Victoria Elementary
· Martinsville City – Brown Street Gym
· Pittsylvania County – Southside Elementary
· Pittsylvania County – Stony Mill Elementary
· Pittsylvania County – Blairs Middle
· Pittsylvania County – John L. Hurt Elementary
· Pittsylvania County – Whitmell Elementary
· Alexandria City – Mount Vernon Elementary
· Alexandria City – T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus
· Arlington County – Hoffman-Boston Elementary
· Arlington County – Oakridge Elementary
· Arlington County – Tuckahoe Elementary
· Arlington County – McKinley Elementary
· Arlington County – Taylor Elementary
· Arlington County – Ashlawn Elementary
· Arlington County – Randolph Elementary
· Arlington County – Barcroft Elementary
· Arlington County – Abingdon Elementary
· Fairfax County – Fairview Elementary
· Fairfax County – Burke School
· Fairfax County – Mount Vernon High
· Fairfax County – Marshall Road Elementary
· Fairfax County – Flint Hill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Parklawn Elementary
· Fairfax County – Mantua Elementary
· Fairfax County – Poe Middle
· Fairfax County – Belvedere Elementary
· Fairfax County – Timber Lane Elementary
· Fairfax County – Quander Road School
· Fairfax County – Weyanoke Elementary
· Fairfax County – Bailey’s E.S.for the Arts and Sciences
· Fairfax County – Gunston Elementary
· Fairfax County – Glen Forest Elementary
· Fairfax County – Herndon Middle
· Fairfax County – Rose Hill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Irving Middle
· Fairfax County – Little Run Elementary
· Fairfax County – Cameron Elementary
· Fairfax County – Archer Elementary
· Fairfax County – Bucknell Elementary
· Fairfax County – Jackson Middle
· Fairfax County – Wakefield Forest Elementary
· Fairfax County – North Springfield Elementary
· Fairfax County – Waynewood Elementary
· Fairfax County – Keene Mill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Herndon Elementary
· Fairfax County – Mosby Woods Elementary
· Fairfax County – Ravensworth Elementary
· Fairfax County – Garfield Elementary
· Fairfax County – Haycock Elementary
· Fairfax County – Stratford Landing Elementary
· Fairfax County – Bren Mar Park Elementary
· Fairfax County – Washington Mill Elementary
· Fairfax County – Belle View Elementary
· Fairfax County – Twain Middle
· Fairfax County – Cooper Middle
· Fairfax County – Thoreau Middle
· Fairfax County – Woodlawn Elementary
· Fairfax County – Marshall High
· Fairfax County – Clifton Elementary
· Fairfax County – Braddock Elementary
· Fairfax County – Sandburg Middle
· Fauquier County – Warrenton Middle
· Fauquier County – W.C. Taylor Middle
· Loudoun County – Middleburg Elementary
· Loudoun County – Lincoln Elementary
· Loudoun County – Banneker Elementary
· Loudoun County – Douglass School
· Manassas City – Osbourn High
· Manassas City – Baldwin Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Truitt Intermediate
· Chesapeake City – Norfolk Highlands Primary
· Chesapeake City – Deep Creek Middle
· Chesapeake City – Hickory Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Southwestern Elementary
· Chesapeake City – B.M. Williams Primary
· Chesapeake City – G.A. Treakle Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Deep Creek Central Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Southeastern Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Edwin W. Chittum Elementary
· Chesapeake City – Great Bridge Primary
· Chesapeake City – George W. Carver Intermediate
· Chesapeake City – Crestwood Intermediate
· Chesapeake City – Crestwood Middle
· Hampton City – Benjamin Syms Middle
· Hampton City – Robert E. Lee Elementary
· Hampton City – Aberdeen Elementary
· Hampton City – Thomas Eaton Middle
· Hampton City – Mary Peake Center
· Hampton City – Moton Early Childhood Center
· Hampton City – Armstrong Elementary
· Newport News City – Hilton Elementary
· Newport News City – Huntington Middle
· Norfolk City – Granby High
· Norfolk City – Matthew Fontaine Maury High
· Norfolk City – Madison Alternative School Center
· Portsmouth City – Emily Spong Pre-School Center
· Portsmouth City – Cradock Middle
· Portsmouth City – William E. Waters Middle
· Portsmouth City – Old S. H. Clarke Voc. Ctr.
· Portsmouth City – Olive Branch Pre-School Center
· Portsmouth City – Mount Hermon Elementary
· Portsmouth City – Mount Hermon Pre-School Center
· Southampton County – Southampton Middle
· Suffolk City – Florence Bowser Elementary
· Suffolk City – Mount Zion Elementary
· Colonial Beach – Colonial Beach Elementary
· Lancaster County – Lancaster Primary
· Richmond County – Richmond County Intermediate
· Fredericksburg City – Original Walker-Grant Annex
· King George County – King George
· King George County – Potomac Elementary
· Spotsylvania County – Robert E. Lee Elementary
· Stafford County – Ferry Farm Elementary
· Stafford County – Gari Melchers Complex
· Albemarle County – Stone Robinson Elementary
· Albemarle County – Stony Point Elementary
· Albemarle County – Woodbrook Elementary
· Albemarle County – Broadus Wood Elementary
· Albemarle County – Benjamin F. Yancey Elementary
· Albemarle County – Virginia L. Murray Elementary
· Amherst County – Central Elementary
· Amherst County – Amherst Elementary
· Amherst County – Amherst Middle
· Amherst County – Amelon Elementary
· Amherst County – Amherst County High
· Bedford County – Boonsboro Elementary
· Bedford County – Stewartsville Elementary
· Bedford County – Science And Technology Center
· Bedford County – Huddleston Elementary
· Campbell County – William Campbell High
· Campbell County – Leesville Road Elementary
· Campbell County – Altavista High
· Campbell County – Rustburg Middle
· Charlottesville City – Venable Elementary
· Charlottesville City – Clark Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Beulah Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Chesterfield Community High
· Chesterfield County – Harrowgate Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Crestwood Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Enon Elementary
· Chesterfield County – Matoaca Middle East Campus
· Chesterfield County – Matoaca Elementary
· Dinwiddie County – Dinwiddie Elementary School
· Dinwiddie County – Midway Elementary School
· Dinwiddie County – Historic Southside High School Education Center
· Fluvanna County – Central Elementary
· Fluvanna County – Project Return/Fluvanna Co
· Fluvanna County – Palmyra Elementary
· Franklin County – Lee M. Waid Elementary
· Hanover County – John M. Gandy Elementary
· Hanover County – Henry Clay Elementary
· Hanover County – Battlefield Park Elementary
· Hanover County – Washington-Henry Elementary
· Hopewell City – Woodlawn Pre-School Learning Center
· King and Queen County – King & Queen Elementary
· King William County – Hamilton Holmes Middle
· Lynchburg City – Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle for Innovation
· Lynchburg City – William M. Bass Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Robert S. Payne Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Dearington Elementary/Innovation
· Lynchburg City – Perrymont Elementary
· Lynchburg City – T.C. Miller Elementary for Innovation
· Lynchburg City – Bedford Hills Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Paul Munro Elementary
· Lynchburg City – Amelia Pride Center
· New Kent County – 1930 High School
· Orange County – Lightfoot Elementary
· Orange County – Unionville Elementary
· Orange County – Redirection Alternative School Education
· Orange County – Special Situation Schools
· Orange County – Taylor Alternative School Education Complex Feeding Site
· Orange County – Vocational Agriculture Building
· Petersburg City – Peabody Middle
· Petersburg City – Westview Early Childhood Education Center
· Petersburg City – Blandford Academy
· Powhatan County – Pocahontas Middle
· Richmond City – Richmond Community High
· Richmond City – George W. Carver Elementary
· Richmond City – Swansboro Elementary
· Richmond City – Elkhardt Middle
· Richmond City – John B. Cary Elementary
· Richmond City – Summer Hill/Ruffin Road Elementary
· Richmond City – Woodville Elementary
· Richmond City – Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary
· Richmond City – Mary Scott Elementary
· Richmond City – Westover Hills Elementary
· Richmond City – Southampton Elementary
· Richmond City – George Wythe High
· Richmond City – A. V. Norrell Annex
· Richmond City – Huguenot High
· Richmond City – E.S.H. Greene Elementary
· Richmond City – G.H. Reid Elementary
· Richmond City – Armstrong High
· Richmond City – A. V. Norrell Elementary
· Richmond City – Fairfield Court Elementary
· Richmond City – Amelia Street Special Education School
· Richmond City – John Marshall High
· Richmond City – Maymont Pre-K Center
· Richmond City – Mary Munford Elementary
· Richmond City – Ginter Park Elementary
· Richmond City – Thomas Jefferson High
· Richmond City – Franklin Military Academy
· Richmond City – J.E.B. Stuart Elementary
· Richmond City – Patrick Henry Elementary
· Richmond City – Binford Middle
· Richmond City – Albert Hill Middle
· Richmond City – George Mason Elementary
· Richmond City – Bellevue Elementary
· Richmond City – Open High


It should be noted that this has been proposed before. It also comes as the Richmond Crusade For Voters is planning its www.putschoolsfirst.org campaign.

‘Oregon Hill’ Author To Speak At Crime Novel Talk Tomorrow

From Kelly Justice, proprietor of Fountain Bookstore (in Shockoe Slip):

Join us for a night of conversation about what goes on behind the scenes of writing successful and award-winning series crime fiction. I will be moderating Swinson and Owen (two very charming gentlemen in addition to being very talented) about their books.

I paired them together because they both have so much in common: both have main characters on the more serious side of flawed, both employ the blackest of humor to great effect, both write with a deeply rooted sense of place. Swinson’s books take place in D.C., Owen’s in Richmond.

This is a good opportunity to ask Owen questions about his ‘Oregon Hill’ novel as well as his more recent works.

The Foundry Series- Combat, Racial Violence & Resilience

Quite a title, right? The American Civil War Museum at Tredegar is hosting this event Thursday evening:

Following the Civil War and Emancipation, Union veterans and African American civilians faced physical and mental challenges that put their resilience to the test in new post-War environments.

Gather for snacks, drinks, and socializing at 6pm, talks begin around 6:30pm.


Never Get Over It: What Night Riding Meant to African American Families
Kidada E. Williams, Ph.D., Wayne State University
From 1868-1871, armed southern white men raided African American communities, holding families hostage and subjecting them to torture, rape, and assassination. Using victims’ testimonies before Congress, Kidada E. Williams presents the story of how survivors understood the consequences of this violence, specifically how it unmade their families and compromised their ability to fulfill their visions of freedom.

Sublimity,Terror and Love: Veterans and the Psychological Impact of War
Stephen A. Goldman, M.D., FAPM, DFAPA, Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, American Psychiatric Association, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Tools of war have undergone significant technological advances since the American Civil War, but the experience of battle and its effects on the combatant remain strikingly similar and profound in our time. The multifaceted psychological impact of war includes not only combat stress reactions, but also emotional resilience and successful societal reintegration. Explore the great influences, positive and negative, of combat and military service on veterans’ lives, and what has been learned throughout history about treating those who’ve been under fire. Following a remarkable group of severely wounded Union soldiers and sailors, discover how their powerful warrior identity spurred commitment to Reconstruction and racial equality, and sustained their collective belief in the causes for which they had fought.

Program Partners
Black Minds Matter Project
YWCA Richmond
Virginia War Memorial
Virginia Veteran and Family Support

Cost: $10.00, $8.00 members

Mrs. F.W. Stevenson

Mrs. F.W. Stevenson, a new emigrate here circa 1855. Her husband later built in the neighborhood called Oregon Hill or Belvidere Hill twenty years later.

His request is complied by the Richmond council committee on July 17, 1876

Images and descriptions courtesy of Richard Lee Bland.