Putting Colonial Williamsburg in national conversation with robust media relations

Client Goal: Working in partnership with Colonial Williamsburg and First Baptist Church, share the story of the search for the original structure of one of America’s oldest Black churches. 

Colonial Williamsburg, the country’s largest living history museum, has embarked on an archaeological endeavor to locate the original structure of First Baptist Church, which dates to 1776 and is one of the nation’s oldest Black churches. The phased project began in August 2020 when Colonial Williamsburg announced an excavation to find the first permanent structure of the church. Since then, archaeological research has identified more than 40 burial sites as Colonial Williamsburg and First Baptist Church continue to learn fascinating details about this historic church and its members.

To tell a story with such nuance, The Hodges Partnership led a strategic media relations effort to shine a deserving light on the work of Colonial Williamsburg, the history and partnership between the organization and the church and the stories past and present emerging from the shadow of First Baptist Church, a landmark in American history.   


  • Coverage from the likes of The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, National Geographic History, WIRED, Christianity Today, Fodor’s, The Root and Black News Channel
  • A features story on the TODAY Show during its Changemakers series in February 2021 
  • The Associated Press, L.A. Times, NBC, ABC and New York Times tweeted an AP story out to their combined 95 million followers. 

Why’d It Work?

Initially, Hodges worked with Colonial Williamsburg and First Baptist Church on a strategy to announce the project, including identifying and targeting key national reporters and outlets who might be interested in the story. 

In addition to distilling the storylines to key messages that we thought would resonate with national outlets, we also leveraged our relationships with reporters and editors, keeping them updated with pertinent details every step of the way. And we’ve worked closely with Colonial Williamsburg on strategies and messaging to continue to share the story to new audiences and in new ways.