Roundtable: African American Horsemen

Join us for a Roundtable Discussion as scholars and museum professionals examine the content of the traveling exhibition Brief History of Black Horsemen in Racing, on loan from James Madison's Montpelier. Speakers include Dr. Pellom McDaniels III, Curator of African American Collections in the Stuart A Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University, Leon Nichols, Founder of Project to Preserve African American Turf History (PPAATH), and Elizabeth Chew VP of Museum Programs at James Madison's Montpelier .

Light refreshments and drinks provided. Admission $10 | Free for NSLM Members.

RSVP at or (540) 687-6542 x 4


Dr. Pellom McDaniels III, Ph.D. is a former NSLM Daniels fellow and is the curator of African American Collections in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of numerous books including his most recent The Hemp Breakers (2018) and The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy (2013). He has curated dozens of exhibitions highlighting the African American collections held in the Rose Library, and is currently working on For Dignity and Honor: A Meditation on Photography, African American Masculinity, and World War I, which examines the experiences of African American soldiers stationed in France during World War I. Additionally, Dr. McDaniels is a visual artist. His debut exhibition, Black: Towards an Afro-Cosmological Understanding, attempts to decouple blackness from whiteness, while simultaneously creating empowering imagery associated with the African continent, and renders European and American ideas about race powerless.

Elizabeth Chew, Ph.D. is Executive Vide President and Chief Curator at James Madison's Montpelier, where she oversees the Curatoiral, Education, Archaeology, Preservation, and Research departments. An art historian, she holds a B.A. from Yale, and M.A. from Courtauld Institute of the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolia Chapel Hill. She has worked at museums and historic sites since 1985. As curator at Monticello for thirteen years, she was instrumental in expanding interpretation to include women, domestic work, and slavery. She curated the exhibition "'To Try All Things': Monticello as Experiment" in the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center and was co-curator, with Rex Ellis of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, of the exhibition Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty. Before joining the team at Montpelier, she was Betsy Main Babcock Director of the Curatorial and Education Division at Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, N.C.  She has taught art history at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, Wake Forest University, and Davidson College and published and lectured widely on ways that art collecting and architectural patronage relate to gender, race, and family politics.

Leon E. Nichols, is an American businessman, early Thoroughbred racing historian and entrepreneur who developed an interest in horse racing while working as a hot walker during his youth and through watching James Long, an African American jockey, ride Thoroughbred horses for his uncle. He is the founder and chief executive officer of The Project to Preserve African American Turf History (PPAATH), a Louisville KY based organization dedicated to the preservation of African American History in horse racing. Through the Isaac Murphy Image Awards PPAATH has honored Angela Bassett, Danny Glover, Doug Williams and Peter Westbrook with Lifetime Achievement in Business, Education, Entertainment and Sports. Currently, Mr. Nichols, through his Kentucky-based company, Bet the World Entertainment, LLC, is leading a multi-national effort to expand horse racing’s footprint and universal popularity through the introduction of the sport’s first-ever global horse racing brand.  The World Riding Championships of Thoroughbred Racing (WRC) will serve as a merit-based, Ryder Cup-themed tournament framed around international team competition. The tournament aims be the first in the history of horse racing to alternate annually across global racing jurisdictions.  Additionally, Mr. Nichols’ work has been published across national media outlets and books including: Business Wire, BMW Press Group, The Courier Journal, Insider Louisville, Racehorse Men by Katherine C. Mooney and the L.A. Times. 

As President and CEO of James Madison’s Montpelier, Kat Imhoff oversees all aspects of a national historic site, including the management of the historic house and grounds, its diverse education and museum programs, and the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution. Under her leadership, The Montpelier Foundation received a gift of $11 million from David M. Rubenstein towards completing the restoration and refurnishing of Madison’s home and the reconstruction of enslaved community sites.  The gift also made possible the permanent exhibition, The Mere Distinction of Colour, which has garnered multiple national awards since its June 2017 opening. In 2019, a Mars Family gift enabled the conservation of 1,000+ acres, doubling the amount of Montpelier acreage protected in perpetuity by conservation and historic easements. Prior to joining Montpelier in January 2013, Kat enjoyed a five-year tenure as State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Montana, where she led a successful $490 million effort to conserve an ecologically intact unit of 310,000 acres of land in the Northern Rockies that serves as an environmentally-protected migratory corridor extending from Wyoming across Montana to Canada.Before her leadership role at The Nature Conservancy, Kat served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (TJF) which owns and operates Monticello, a UNESCO World Heritage site.She has served as the Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, Vice President for Conservation and Development of the Piedmont Environmental Council, and the Executive Director of the Commission on Population Growth and Development, a 33-member legislative study commission established by the Virginia General Assembly to promote growth management legislation.This continuing dedication to preservation has been recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Virginia Wildlife Federation, and the Piedmont Environmental Council.  It also led to her gubernatorial appointment as chair of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the largest holder of easements in the United States. She also served on the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission. 


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