Document Bank of Virginia
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  • Tags: African American History

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…

Jackson_JournalandGuide_1943-08-21.jpg
The contributions of African Americans to the politics, life, and culture of the Commonwealth of Virginia have often been ignored in traditional histories and textbooks. Historian Luther Porter Jackson (1892–1950), however, researched and wrote…

Hunt_UnionBurialGroundSociety_20_0596 006.jpg
Beginning in the 18th century, cemeteries in Richmond were racially segregated. Deceased residents of African descent were interred in the Burial Ground for Negroes (also known as the African Burial Ground) alongside the city’s Shockoe Creek. The…

Clara Robinson_Petition_1848_126_282_047_p1.jpg
In 1806, Virginia's General Assembly passed a law that required enslaved people who had been freed after that date to leave the state within one year's time. Those who remained in the Commonwealth more than a year could be re-enslaved and sold.…

James Lafayette_petition_1786_051297_05.jpg
James Lafeyette was born enslaved about 1748. He lived on a plantation owned by William Armistead in New Kent County. Although he is sometimes identified as James Armistead, he never signed his name or self-identified as having the surname Armistead.…
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