Cary Forward is located on Cary Street, which is named after an enslaver Archibald Cary. The center further takes its name from Constance Cary Harrison, an American playwright and novelist who, along with two of her cousins, were known as the “Cary Invincibles” and sewed the first examples of the Confederate Battle Flag. Through its use of art, historic objects, and documentation, Cary Forward will support factual knowledge around histories that include enslavement, incarceration, systemic racism, and the destruction of communities, as well as the stories of resilience, perseverance, and the thriving communities that once existed in Richmond and beyond. It will also offer physical space for community members to gather and actively use their history in planning for Richmond’s future.
Cary Forward’s mission is to eradicate current and past histories of coordinated exclusion and harm by acknowledging, addressing, and solving problems, and through an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-discrimination across our work. As a center created to solve problems, we include those who are disproportionately impacted by these issues in the organization’s decision making, knowing that we can only succeed with truly diverse perspectives.