New license plate available honors Virginia’s first Black newspaper

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 8:52 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As many new laws went into effect Friday, so did Senate Bill 753.

It authorizes the issuance of a new special Black History license plate, ‘The Richmond Planet, ’ available soon at the DMV.

The new plate celebrates one of the first Black-owned newspapers in Virginia, dating back to the 1800s.

The Richmond Planet is a former Black community newspaper founded in 1882 by 13 formerly enslaved men, most of whom were teachers in Virginia Public Schools.

The design features a Black-flexed bicep with the Richmond Planet logo representing the paper’s masthead.

The Richmond Planet license plate honors Virginia's first black newspapers
The Richmond Planet license plate honors Virginia's first black newspapers((Source: Reginald Carter))

Reginald Carter, who led the effort, says he was searching for a license plate for his vehicle but couldn’t find any options that commemorated Black History. So, he began the campaign to create a new plate celebrating Black excellence.

“I just wanted to pay homage to the Richmond Planet and all entrepreneurs and Black business owners because I can only imagine as former slaves being able to tell your story in a newspaper when print was power back then. That was something that was light years ahead of their time, so I just wanted to continue to tell their story in a positive way,” said Carter.

Sen. Joe Morrissey first endorsed the plate. Since then, Carter’s plate design has been backed by several famous Virginia natives, including Chris Brown, Allen Iverson and Michael Vick.

Michael Vick and Reginald Carter
Michael Vick and Reginald Carter((Source: Reginald Carter))

“To have them endorsing me means the world. It meant I was on the right track creating change,” said Carter. “I knew that it was going to be met with some resistance because it’s different; it’s change. Throughout this process, there’s individuals that have called me racist, but it’s not about me - it’s bigger than me. This is for any and everyone who celebrates Black excellence.”

The plate is only the 7th inclusive license plate in the country that highlights Black History. It’s currently only available for pre-order until the July 15 deadline.

To purchase, click here. Note that orders are currently under mass production and will take an entire month before arrival.

The current 6 inclusive license plates across the country that highlight black excellence
The current 6 inclusive license plates across the country that highlight black excellence((Source: NBC12))

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