Document Bank of Virginia

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  • Tags: African American History

Free and enslaved African Americans served on both sides of the American Revolutionary War. Patriot leaders, including George Washington, were largely lukewarm to the thought of recruiting slaves for the war, whereas the British side fully embraced…

In 1790 the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society, led by Benjamin Franklin, submitted a plea to Congress to end slavery. Congress considered the pettion and formed a committee for further examination. They debated what was and was not within their…

Anthony Johnson was a black man and former indentured servant in 17th century Virginia who was able to purchase his freedom. Upon becoming free, Johnson purchased land as well as servants. One such servant, John Casar, claimed that Johnson was…

This document is a map of Africa that was published by Gerhard Mercator in 1607. Mercator was a cartographer of great renown and he was very well known for his world map Typus Orbis Terrarum. While quite detailed and relatively correct in shape, it…

This broadside is a criticism of actions of the Democratic Party in the 1830s. The author lists off pro-black policies and actions, including a Democratic Vice President having a spouse of partial African ancestry, in an attempt to discredit the…

This act from 1705 dictates that if a slave resists their master and then the master kills them in the act of punishing or correcting them, then the master shall not be held accountable for the slave’s death. Also, it states that even free…

James H. Dooley was a Virginia politician and business man in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the Civil War, he amassed a great amount of wealth by expanding railroad services. In 1869 he married Sallie May Dooley, a daughter of a…

This broadside is an 1836 publication by the American Anti-Slavery Society. The broadside highlights the group’s opposition to slavery through quotes from the Bible and some of America’s Founding Documents. In the 1830s, moves were made to…

At the close of the Civil War and the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, all men, regardless of their race or previous status, were supposed to be able to vote.  However, states, including Virginia, found ways to exclude blacks from voting such as…

In October 1859, John Brown and other antislavery men slipped across the border between Maryland and Virginia and occupied the United States arsenal at Harper's Ferry. Brown hoped to arm enslaved men and lead a campaign to abolish slavery. However,…
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