Document Bank of Virginia

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  • Tags: African American History

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…

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 provides a unique look at the status of African laborers in Virginia by clearly illustrating that fixed terms of indentured servitude existed, but also that they could be violated. In 1675 Phillip Gowen, an African American indentured…

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…

During the eighteenth century, voting was considered a privilege, not a right. Although governmental bodies, such as the House of Burgesses, were meant to be representative, a majority of people could not actually vote. A voter in early Virginia had…

In the process of breaking away from England, representatives for Virginia realized they had to define the government of the new state. In 1776, the Fifth Virginia Convention ratified a document, known as the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which…

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…

This watercolor painting by Benjamin Henry Latrobe depicts three African American men, probably slaves, directing a bateau, a long flat-bottomed boat, through the rapids of the James River at Richmond. The boats were used to carry goods such as…

This document shows an article that was originally published in Life Magazine on March 18, 1966, written on the Lovings following the Virginia Supreme Court decision to uphold the 1924 Act to Preserve Racial Integrity Act. The case surrounds the…
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