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Dynamic Black Women to Follow: Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax

In honor of Women's History Month, The Virginia Black Lifestyle Magazine is amplifying the narratives of dynamic Black women in the Commonwealth of Virginia for all of us to follow, learn from, and celebrate!

Meet Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax:

A beautiful Black woman smiling, wearing a green top.
Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax

Richmond native, Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax is Professor, Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College Senior Faculty Fellow, and Inaugural faculty scholar in the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University (NSU). Her research foci reflects Africana Studies paradigms. She has written several articles, reviews, chapters, and the following books, Hampton, Virginia, (2005), Timeless History and Service: The Iota Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, 1922-To Our Time (2017); edited two books, Social Work, Marriage and Ethnicity: Policy and Practice (2016), and The African Experience in Colonial Virginia: Essays on the 1619 Arrival and Legacy of Slavery (2021). She wrote the Foreword for A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers (2019).

Dr. Fairfax earned the Doctor of Philosophy and the Master of Arts in African American Studies from Temple University, the Master of Social Work from Rutgers University, and the Bachelor of Social Work from Howard University.

Dr. Fairfax was a leader in the Commonwealth of Virginia with the 1619-2019 recognition of the landing of African people at Point Comfort (present day Hampton). She was appointed to the city of Hampton’s 400th Commemorative Commission in 2010, where she contributed to documenting African American contributions on several historic markers, and articulated how the African figure of the tri-cultural anniversary statute on Settlers Landing Road in Hampton should be depicted. She served as co-chairman of the city of Hampton’s 2019 Commemorative Commission, tasked with planning activities commemorating the arrival of African people in English North America, Point Comfort (present-day Hampton) in 1619. In 2013, the late Dr. Mary Christian and she co-founded the Barrett-Peake Heritage Foundation tasked with restoring the state headquarters of the Virginia Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs founded in 1907, and preserving African American historical cemeteries in Hampton.

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed her to the State Board of Historic Resources in 2016, of which she served in leadership capacities such as Vice-Chairman (2018-2019; 2022-current) and Chairman (2019-2021). Former Governor Ralph Northam re-appointed her to that board, and to the Commission for Historic Statues in the United States Capitol, tasked with removing and replacing the Robert E. Lee Statue in the U.S. Capitol in 2020.

What are you most known for?

I'm most known for my work as a Board member on the State Board of Historic Resources

How would your best friend describe you?

My best friend would describe me as jovial and Black-minded!

What inspires you?

Our history and culture!

What is your greatest accomplishment? Why?

Transforming the dedication programs of state highway markers into public memory celebrations of our lived struggle, contributions and sacrifices for all generations.

In a perfect world, share one thing you would like to see happen for Black women?

For Black women and men, I wish to see us live life on our own cultural terms, perpetuating our collective community spiritual traditions, economic cooperatives, extended families, rituals of people development for everyone.

What are five songs on your playlist, that you think other women should add to theirs, and why?

  1. "Total Praise," by Richard Smallwood

  2. "I Don't Feel No Ways Tired," by James Cleveland

  3. "Keep Your Head to the Sky," by Earth, Wind and Fire

  4. "24K Magic," by Bruno Mars

  5. "Work That," by Mary J Blige

These songs and so many others are uplifting, inspiring, helps you to remember who you are everyday!

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with your younger self; which year would you return to? How old would you be in that year? What would you say to your younger self, to inspire her about her bright future?

If I could speak with myself when I was 13, I would say that my troubles in my Math class wouldn't last long and I would prevail (smile). I would remind myself of the things I do quite well, as a measure and foundation of my strengths.

Where can our readers connect with you?

Facebook: Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax

Twitter: @clnfairfax


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