Document Bank of Virginia
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RacialViolence_Norfolk-Day-Book_1866-04-17.jpg
Emancipation at the end of the Civil War did not bestow citizenship or legal protections on formerly enslaved men and women. Concerned that the newly freed African Americans would not be treated equally in courts of law, Congress passed a Civil…

Tonsler_DailyProgress_1917-03-07.jpg
After the Civil War, Black Virginians faced both opportunities and challenges. State law segregated public schools. As a result, a class of Black educators emerged to become leaders not only of their schools, but also of their communities whose…

UrbanRenewal_VinegarHill_DailyProgress_1960-06-28.jpg
In the decades after World War II, many towns and cities across the United States considered plans to redevelop aging neighborhoods. Many of these neighborhoods suffered from substandard housing, including public housing that had been erected during…

BrooksC_apprenticeship-contract_7435750_0004_0007_p2.jpg
In March 1865, before the Civil War had ended, Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (generally known as the Freedmen’s Bureau) to supervise matters related to freed people as well as to distribute land "abandoned" by…

Russell-StPauls_09_0488_07.jpg
This broadside advertises an excursion by train from Lawrenceville to Norfolk as a fundraiser for St. Paul Normal and Industrial Institute. James Solomon Russell (1857–1935) founded St. Paul Normal and Industrial School in Lawrenceville to serve the…

WilliamAlbright_record_1835_1082993_0006_0013_p1.jpg
Virginia's economy was based on slavery until the Civil War and emancipation. Farmers and planters relied on enslaved laborers to work their land. Many businesses, including railroads, coal mines, tobacco factories, and saltworks, also exploited…

Phillis_Commonwealth-Cause_1824_7594199_0003_0009_p3.jpg
Commonwealth causes are criminal cases filed by a county's prosecuting attorney (commonwealth's attorney) against individuals who violate Virginia law. Prior to the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865, criminal offenders and victims included…

Virginia Newspapers Respond_NJG_1954-05-22_editorial.jpg
On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Virginia's school system had been segregated since it was established in 1870, and…

GovStanley_1956-08-27_WRVA_160_Track_1_CUT.mp3
In 1896 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation did not violate the "equal protection of the laws" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Virginia and other southern states employed the doctrine of "separate…

Pamunkey petition_1843_072_135_003_p1.jpg
After a public notice appeared in a Richmond newspaper in October 1842 that a petition would be presented to the Virginia General Assembly to sell King William County property known as "Indian town lands," members of the Pamunkey tribe took action.…
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