VA -- Richmond -- Virginia Museum of History and Culture (VMHC) -- Exhibit: Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality:
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Description of Pictures: Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality
Jun 22 2019 – Mar 29 2020
"We are determined to be people."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr. from the speech, I've Been to the Mountaintop, delivered on April 3, 1968 at Mason Temple, Memphis, Tennessee
In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in British North America, Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality will examine the long history of black Americans as they have fought for freedom, equal justice, and access to opportunities. Their actions have pushed our nation ever closer to its ideal of universal equality.
Through profiles of 30 individuals, more than 100 evocative objects, and multimedia interpretive content, Determined will explore:
* the black experience in Virginia from 1619 to the present day;
* the pivotal role black Americans have played in shaping America’s national identity and culture; and
* the key Virginians and Virginia events that have defined the meaning of American democracy, equality, and justice.
Four Centuries of Determination
Determined examines the ways in which the arrival of enslaved Africans in 1619 shaped the United States that we know today. The exhibition is arranged in chronological sections: The Colonial Period; American Revolution through the Civil War; Reconstruction through World War II; and the Civil Rights Movement through today.
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VHSDE1_200102_013.JPG: Unknown No Longer
In 2019, we mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first captive Africans in British North America. In many ways, Virginia and the United States of America were built upon the labor of millions of enslaved black people who came after them. This display of more than 11,000 names recognizes some of these individuals. As you ascend these stairs, we ask that you consider their contributions and sacrifices.
These names are drawn from Unknown No Longer, a major archival record of enslaved people whose names and biographical information were identified over the past decade through research of early documents held in the museum's collections. Learn more at VirginiaHistory.org/UNL.
Unknown No Longer was generously supported by Dominion Energy.
VHSDE1_200102_023.JPG: "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."
-- Booker T. Washington
"It isn't where you come from, it's where you're going that counts."
-- Ella Fitzgerald
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
-- Arthur Ashe
The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality
VHSDE1_200102_039.JPG: The Richmond 34
February 22, 1960
VHSDE1_200102_047.JPG: Thalhimers' Clock, about 1940
VHSDE1_200102_084.JPG: Race and The Law
VHSDE1_200102_094.JPG: Whipping post, 19th century
From the earliest colonial days, the whipping post was a site of public punishment and a symbol of government control, especially over black bodies. This 19th-century example stood in the Portsmouth jail yard until the Civil War.
VHSDE1_200102_099.JPG: John Punch
VHSDE1_200102_103.JPG: Indenture agreement for Richard Lowther, July 31, 1627
In this contract, Richard Lowther of Bedfordshire, England, agrees "to do... all things as shall be commanded him by the said Edward Lyurd" in Virginia for five years. Until the 1680s, white indentured servants like Lowther made up 80 percent of Virginia's workforce.
VHSDE1_200102_122.JPG: Affidavit, Day 22, 1693
Submitted by Dudley Digges, Richard Whitaker, Cater Hubberd, William Cary, and William Rosser
Several white citizens of Warwick County (today Newport News) took their concerns about slave uprisings to Governor Edmund Andros with this affadavit. It relates how Frank, an enslaved man owned by Henry Gibbs, was questioned about "an Evil and Desperate design contrived by the Negroes."
VHSDE1_200102_129.JPG: Punishment color, date unknown
Sam's punishment for promoting insurrection was harsh. He was whipped and paraded around town, then fitted with "a strong Iron collar affixed about his neck... never to take or gett off," under penalty of hanging. Punishment collars like this one were designed to torment and dehumanize the wearer.
VHSDE1_200102_135.JPG: The Transatlantic Slave Trade
VHSDE1_200102_138.JPG: African Slavery by the Numbers
Total of 12.5 million Africans boarded onto slave ships
14% -- 1.8 million died during transatlantic voyage
less than 4% -- 388,000 sent to what is now the United States
82% -- 10.3 million sent to South America and the Caribbean
VHSDE1_200102_146.JPG: Olaudah Equiano
VHSDE1_200102_154.JPG: Cut-away ship model of Dos Amigos, 2001
This modern model of a 19th-century slaving schooner, possibly built in Portsmouth, Virginia, shows how captive Africans were crammed into the holds of ships. The transatlatic voyage typically took four-to-six weeks, but sometimes lasted longer.
VHSDE1_200102_162.JPG: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or, Gustavus Vassa, The African, 1809
Equiano;s autobiography was widely read and very influential on the burgeoning abolition movement. It also inspired other slave narratives, including that of Frederick Douglass.
Some historians believe Equiano was born in America instead of West Africa. Nevertheless, his vivid description of the African slave trade has the ring of truth from either first-hand experience or a faithful recounting.
VHSDE1_200102_165.JPG: Leg shackles, mid-19th century
VHSDE1_200102_180.JPG: Indentured or Enslaved?
Confusion exists about the status of Africans in early colonial Virginia. British culture had not yet institutionalized slavery, but it did have a system of indentured servitude -- contract labor for a set number of years. Rarely, servants of African descent gained their freedom.
Virginia society differentiated its bound laborers by race from the start. The first census in 1620 listed 885 English inhabitants (including white servants) and -- "in the service of the English" -- 32 "Negroes" and four "Indians." By the mid-1600s, racialized discrimination and lifetime bondage for black servants were codified into colonial law and daily practice.
VHSDE1_200102_186.JPG: Cooking pot found at Little Town Quarter, James City County, about 1625-1650
VHSDE1_200102_187.JPG: Gourd fiddle, 19th century
VHSDE1_200102_190.JPG: Muster of the inhabitants in Virginia, 1625
Angela's name (spelled "Angelo") appears only twice in the historical record: on the musters or censuses taken by the Virginia colony in 1624 and 1625. Here, she is listed as one of four servants -- and the only "Negro" -- in the Pierce household in James City.
VHSDE1_200102_197.JPG: Bambara Harry & Dinah
Slavery at High Tide
VHSDE1_200102_242.JPG: Revolving table, about 1810
Made in the Monticello joinery by John Hemmings
A highly skilled carpenter or joiner, John Hemmings (1776-1833) created architectural elements and furniture for Thomas Jefferson's homes. He was part of the large enslaved family whose lives and bloodlines were intertwined with Jefferson's. The third president fathered six children with Sally Hemings, who was the half-sister of John Hemmings.
[Note they spell Sally's last name with one "m" and John's with two "m".]
In his will, Jefferson freed only 10 of his more than 600 slaves: John Hemmings are nine other members of the Hemings/Hemmings family.
VHSDE1_200102_249.JPG: George Washington, 1780
The black man in this painting likely represents William Lee (d. 1810), who served Washington as an enslaved valet for more than twenty years. Their relationship contributed to Washington's growing opposition to slavery in his final decades. He decided to free his 123 slaves, but only after his death. Washington's will stipulated immediate manumission for Lee for his "faithful services during the Revolutionary War," and freedom upon his wife's death for his other slaves.
VHSDE1_200102_254.JPG: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776
VHSDE1_200102_258.JPG: Bread list for Monticello slaves, from Thomas Jefferson's Farm book, 1795-1796.
VHSDE1_200102_263.JPG: A Dissertation on Slavery: With a Proposal for the Gradual Abolition of It in the State of Virginia, 1796
St. George Tucker
VHSDE1_200102_268.JPG: "As freedom in unquestionably the birth-right of all mankind, of Africans as well as Europeans, to keep the former in a State of Slavery is a constant violation of that right, and therefore of Justice."
-- Arthur Lee, "Address on Slavery," in Virginia Gazette, March 19, 1767
VHSDE1_200102_273.JPG: Dunmore's Proclamation, 1775
Reproduced from the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser
Original on view in The Story of Virginia exhibition
To undermine patriot rebels, Lord Dunmore, Virginia's royal governor, issued a proclamation in November 1775 offering freedom to enslaved men who fought for the British. "Dunmore's Proclamation" spurred a tidal wave of runaways in Virginia and, as word spread, throughout the colonies -- more than 15,000 during the war.
VHSDE1_200102_279.JPG: James Lafayette's petition for freedom, November 30, 1786
In his freedom petition, James Lafayette described how he "secretly conveyed enclosures from Marquis into the Enemies lines of the most important kind" and "often at the peril of his life." Appealing to the legislators' patriotic spirit, James asked that "he may be granted that freedom which he flatters himself he has in some degree contributed to establish."
VHSDE1_200102_281.JPG: James Lafayette, 1824
John B. Martin
During the Marquis de Lafayette's tour of the United States in 1824, an artist created this print with a portrait of James Lafayette and the text of the maruis' 1784 testimonial in support of his freedom. "James has done essential services... His intelligences from the enemy's camp were industriously collected and most faithfully delivered."
VHSDE1_200102_285.JPG: Siege of Yorktown, about 1836
After Louis Charles Auguste Couder
Representatives of Revolutionary events typically focus on famous white generals, while relegating people of color -- like the anonymous black groomsman at right -- to the background. During the war, James Lafayette exploded his marginal social position as an enslaved man to spy in the British camp.
VHSDE1_200102_288.JPG: Lott Cary
VHSDE1_200102_298.JPG: Letter from Littleberry Apperson to Robert Carter III, May 4, 1792
In 1791, Robert Carter III -- the grandson of Robert "King" Carter -- filed a deed to emancipate his more than 500 slaves on a gradual basis. This plan angered fellow elite planters and vexed his plantation managers. In this letter, Carter's overseer reports how four of his slaves, "flushed with notions of freedom," tried to run away rather than wait for their scheduled manumission.
Carter's plan is the largest recorded emancipation by an individual slaveowner in U.S. history.
VHSDE1_200102_305.JPG: Letter from Granville White to Ritta Boscoe, November 20, 1853
This is a rare surviving letter from a fugitive slave living in Chippewa, Canada -- where slavery was abolished in 1834 -- to his enslaved mother in Halifax, Virginia. Granville White delights in his new-found freedom to change his name, earn wages, and have "no one to Boss or drive me." He also asks about family members -- a poignant reminder of what he had to sacrifice.
VHSDE1_200102_308.JPG: Documents of Freedom
VHSDE1_200102_317.JPG: The United States in 1821
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was one several compromises that the U.S. Congress made to preserve the balance of power between free and slave states as the nation expanded. Among its provisions, this Compromise prohibited slavery in new territories north of the 36°30' latitude, except in Missouri.
VHSDE1_200102_326.JPG: Deed of manumission, January 26, 1790
George Gardener of Surry County invoked the "natural rights of all mankind" as justification for emancipating five of his enslaved people. Rachel was manumitted immediately; Molly, David, Marget, and Isam remained under Gardener's guardianship until they reached the age of majority (21 for men, 18 for women).
Nat Turner's Revolt
Nat Turner (1800-1831), an enslaved preacher and self-proclaimed prophet, led the bloodiest slave revolve in U.S. history in Southampton County. Over the course of two days in late August 1831, he and his conspirators killed 58 white men, women, and children before government troops quelled the insurrection.
The state tried and executed Turner and 19 conspirators. White vigilantes retaliated with violence, resulting in about 40 additional deaths.
[Oddly, the sign at the National Museum of African American History and Culture gives totally different numbers:
Nat Turner's Rebellion, 1831
Enslaved people rose up in Southampton County, Virginia, on August 21, 1831. Led by Nat Turner, rebels moved across plantations, murdering roughly 55 whites and rally enslaved people. They planned to move on to Jerusalem, Virginia, to seize guns and then make a permanent home in the Great Dismal Swamp. By August 23, the rebels had been defeated. More than 200 black men and women, both enslaved and free, were executed. Nat Turner's Rebellion alarmed Americans and inflamed the debate over slavery.
The Wikipedia entry, citing entries by Patrick Breen, says 56 were executed and 120 were murdered by mobs.]
The atrocities sent shockwaves throughout the nation and deepened the divide over slavery. Defenders of the institution blamed "Yankee" influence and what they believed was the violent character of black people. Antislavery factions argued that this revolt demonstrated the corruptive effects of slavery and refuted masters' claims of the "contented" slave.
Turner's revolt also prompted Virginia's General Assembly to debate the fate of slavery in its 1831-1832 session. Legislators considered proposals for abolition, but ultimately decided to maintain slavery. They also passed new restrictions on black Virginians, including requiring black congregations to be supervised by a white minister and making it illegal to teach black people to read.
This was the last time a government of a slave state considered ending slavery until the Civil War.
VHSDE1_200102_346.JPG: The leader of the "Immortal Nineteen," who fought for and received their liberty on board the Creole.
-- The Liberator, June 10, 1852
VHSDE1_200102_349.JPG: Marlinspike, 19th century
After breaking out of the Creole's slave hold, Washington and the other rebels grabbed improvised weapons such as marlinspikes -- used to work nautical ropes -- to overpower the crew. Only one person, a slave dealer's agent, was killed during the fighting.
VHSDE1_200102_355.JPG: "The Heroic Slave," by Frederick Douglass, 1853
VHSDE1_200102_359.JPG: Sailor's sea chest, 1853
VHSDE1_200102_370.JPG: James Lafayette
VHSDE1_200102_374.JPG: Jane Minor
VHSDE1_200102_379.JPG: Religious Communities
VHSDE1_200102_382.JPG: Letter from Lott Cary to Benjamin Brand, August 3, 1826
In reports from Liberia to the American Colonization Society in Richmond, Cary discussed his missionary activities and other practical matters. "We have a good country," He wrote, "why not send out the people of colour as fast as possible."
VHSDE1_200102_387.JPG: William C.P. Carrington's membership certificate for the American Colonization Society, 1836
VHSDE1_200102_392.JPG: Token for the American Colonization Society, 1833
VHSDE1_200102_401.JPG: Lancet, 19th century
Cupping jar, late 18th century
VHSDE1_200102_403.JPG: Account book of Phoebe Jackson, 1833-1846
VHSDE1_200102_410.JPG: Manumission deeds issued by Jane Minor, July 1840
VHSDE1_200102_421.JPG: Code of Laws for Island Plantation, about 1857
VHSDE1_200102_427.JPG: Mary S. Peake
VHSDE1_200102_434.JPG: Sarah Calwell
VHSDE1_200102_438.JPG: Anthony Burns
VHSDE1_200102_440.JPG: Dangerfield Newby
VHSDE1_200102_443.JPG: I... am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.
-- John Brown, 1859
Dangerfield Newby participated in John Brown's ill-fated raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (today West Virginia), on October 16-18, 1859, aimed at starting a revolution to end slavery. For Newby, a former slave from the Shenandoah Valley, this cause was deeply personal: his wife and children were in bondage. After a failed attempt to buy their freedom and fearing their sale to the Deep South, Newby joined Brown's small army. He was killed on his first day of fighting. The Harpers Ferry invasion pushed a divided nation closer toward war.
VHSDE1_200102_446.JPG: A Voice fro Harper's Ferry: A Narrative of Events at Harper's Ferry, 1861
Osborne P. Anderson
John Brown's army included five black men. Osborne Anderson was the only one to survive. In his account of the raid, he describes Dangerfield Newby as brave and a martyr for the cause of freedom.
VHSDE1_200102_447.JPG: John Brown Held Harper's Ferry for 12 Hours, 1977
Jacob Lawrence, an acclaimed black artist of the 20th century, used bold colors and angular shapes to convey the tension of the standoff between Brown's well-armed interracial army and the unseen militia and federal troops sent to quell the raid.
VHSDE1_200102_452.JPG: Pike, 1859
John Brown viewed violence as a necessary means to end slavery. With funding from abolitionists, he commissioned 950 of these pikes from a Connecticut forge. He planned to march south after seizing the Harpers Ferry arsenal, distributing weapons to enslaved men who would rise up in revolt.
VHSDE1_200102_458.JPG: Business of Slavery
VHSDE1_200102_464.JPG: Business of Slavery
Slavery was deeply entwined in the political, social, and -- especially -- the economic fabric of the United States.
In 1860, there were nearly 4 million enslaved black people in the United States. They were valued as assets with a comparative worth in today's dollars of:
* $3.7 trillion -- value of Enslaved People
* $1.1 trillion -- Value of all U.S. Manufacturing
* 500 million -- Value of all U.S. Banks
* Over $10 trillion -- Estimated value of labor provided by enslaved people between 1619 and 1865.
VHSDE1_200102_469.JPG: How do we calculate the human costs of slavery?
The toll of physical and psychological torture?
The pain of family separation for 1 in 3 enslaved children and 1 in 5 married couples?
The damage to the nation's soul?
VHSDE1_200102_475.JPG: For Sale!
The rise of "King Cotton" in the Deep South and the 1808 ban on the importation of enslaved Africans fueled the growth of the domestic slave trade. Virginia was at the center of this interstate trade, supplying hundreds of thousands of enslaved people to other slave states.
For enslaved Virginians, being sold "down South" usually meant family separation, as well as harsher work conditions and shorter life expectancies. Many responded to such agonizing prospects with desperate acts of escape, suicide or murder, and other forms of rebellion.
VHSDE1_200102_479.JPG: Marshal's Posse with Burns Moving Down State Street, 1856
VHSDE1_200102_484.JPG: Letter from Anthony Burns to Richard Henry Dana, August 23, 1854
VHSDE1_200102_486.JPG: Shoe, about 1860-1870
VHSDE1_200102_489.JPG: Check used to purchase Anthony Burns, 1855
VHSDE1_200102_491.JPG: Abolitionist Pitcher, 1858
VHSDE1_200102_494.JPG: Sarah Calwell
VHSDE1_200102_504.JPG: 1861 Civil War
VHSDE1_200102_508.JPG: They fought like bulldogs and died like soldiers.
-- Confederate soldier describing U.S. Colored Troops at the Battle of the Crater, July 1864
VHSDE1_200102_516.JPG: Army of the James Medal ("Butler Medal"), 1864
Sutler's token, U.S. Colored Infantry, about 1863
Identification disc of George Cudjo, 31st Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops, about 1863-1865
VHSDE1_200102_529.JPG: Miles James
VHSDE1_200102_534.JPG: Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on is button, and a musket on his shoulder... and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.
-- Frederick Douglass, 1863
VHSDE1_200102_537.JPG: A Ride for Liberty -- The Fugitive Slaves, 1862
Eastman Johnson followed the federal Army of the Potomac into Virginia to find war-related subjects for his art. Here, he depicts an enslaved family making a determined dash toward Union lines. The dusky light and the mother' fearful glance backward heighten the drama of their bid for freedom.
VHSDE1_200102_553.JPG: Mary S. Peake
VHSDE2_200102_004.JPG: Emancipation Proclamation
Milestone on the Path to Freedom
VHSDE2_200102_007.JPG: Emancipation Proclamation
Milestone on the Path to Freedom
President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declared that "all persons held as slaves within any States... in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
This executive order was limited. As a strategic war measure designed to cripple the Confederacy, it applied only to Confederate territories -- which federal forces did not control -- while leaving slavery intact in slaveholding states loyal to the Union. Nevertheless, the Emancipation Proclamation marked a historic realignment of the war's objective from preserving the Union to abolishing slavery.
VHSDE2_200102_013.JPG: Emancipation Proclamation, 1864
This version of the Emancipation Proclamation -- an extremely rare copy of a limited edition print signed by Lincoln -- was sold to raise money for the Union cause.
On loan from David M. Rubenstein
VHSDE2_200102_032.JPG: Thirteenth Amendment
This constitutional amendment completed the process begun by the Emancipation Proclamation -- it officially ended slavery across the United States. Ratified on December 1, 1865, this was the first of several Reconstruction amendments that fundamentally changed the legal status of black Americans and, by extension, the nature of American democracy.
VHSDE2_200102_042.JPG: Thirteenth Amendment resolution, about February 1, 1865
This exceptionally rare document was drawn up shortly after Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment on January 31, 1865, and was preparing to submit it to the states for ratification. The signers include: President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, Secretary of the Senate John W. Fornay, and Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax -- who originally signed this document.
On loan from David M. Rubenstein.
VHSDE2_200102_059.JPG: Reconstruction & Amending the Constitution
Guarantees Voting Right of Black Men
Defines citizens as all individuals born or naturalized in the United States and grand citizenship to formerly enslaved people.
Requires due process and equal protection under law.
Ends slavery in the United States.
VHSDE2_200102_079.JPG: With a view to the elimination of every negro voter who can be gotten rid of.
-- Carter Glass, delegate to Virginia's Constitutional Convention of 1901-1902
VHSDE2_200102_081.JPG: Virginia's 1902 Constitution
The new state constitution passed in 1902 was the culmination of post-Reconstruction efforts to restore white elites to power by disenfranchising black and poor white people. And, it was very effective. Through a poll tax and other measures, the number of eligible black voters dropped by nearly 90 percent and white voters by 50 percent. Such restrictions remained in place until the 1960s.
Is it a democracy when only 10 percent of a state's population participates in elections?
VHSDE2_200102_084.JPG: Could You Vote?
VHSDE2_200102_090.JPG: Codifying Jim Crow
VHSDE2_200102_101.JPG: Daily school register for Chimborazo School, Richmond, 1868-1869
This register from a Freedman's Bureau school documents the high demand for learning among black people. The teacher recorded up to 78 students -- when maximum class size was supposed to be 50 -- ranging in age from four to 29.
VHSDE2_200102_110.JPG: Up from Slavery: An Autobiography, 1901
Booker T. Washington
VHSDE2_200102_112.JPG: Poll book for "colored" voters, 5th District County of Norfolk, 1867
Black men were first allowed to vote in Virginia in 1867, when 93,000 exercised this right. They also served as delegates to the convention that wrote the state's reconstructed constitution of 1869, which granted universal male suffrage and established a public school system
VHSDE2_200102_124.JPG: Separate, Not Equal
In the decades following Reconstruction, white Southerners reasserted their sense of superiority over black people through social customs -- such as refusing to address black individuals by honorific titles such as "Mr." or "Mrs." -- and through legal statutes -- such as Virginia's laws mandating segregated schools (1902) and streetcars (1906).
Jim Crow segregation created a legalize racial caste system that lasted until the 1960s. It affected almost all facets of daily life: theaters, parks, libraries, hospitals, and businesses maintained separate -- and generally unequal -- facilities and services for black people.
VHSDE2_200102_127.JPG: Safe Travels
VHSDE2_200102_130.JPG: Doors of Opportunity
VHSDE2_200102_132.JPG: Women's Rights
VHSDE2_200102_160.JPG: This 1937 Residential Security Map for Richmond classified mortgage risk by neighborhood from lowest risk -- "first grade" or green -- to highest -- "fourth grade" or red. Assessors coded white and wealthy districts as "first grade" and marked black neighborhoods in red.
VHSDE2_200102_166.JPG: Higher Education
VHSDE2_200102_174.JPG: Labor Rights
VHSDE2_200102_182.JPG: Peter Jacob Carter
VHSDE2_200102_188.JPG: Ku Klux Klan hood, 1920
VHSDE2_200102_190.JPG: Helmet of the Colored Knights of Pythias, about 1890
VHSDE2_200102_200.JPG: John Mitchell, Jr.
VHSDE2_200102_205.JPG: Anne Spencer
VHSDE2_200102_211.JPG: Letter from W.E.B. DuBois to Anne Spencer, September 7, 1934
VHSDE2_200102_215.JPG: The Lyric, Spring 1931
VHSDE2_200102_218.JPG: Writing by Anne Spencer, various dates
VHSDE2_200102_227.JPG: Fighting for America
VHSDE2_200102_229.JPG: ... you say we're fighting
Then why don't democracy
I ask you this question
Cause I want to know
How long I got to fight
BOTH HITLER -- AND JIM CROW.
-- Langston Hughes, from "Beaumont to Detroit: 1943"
VHSDE2_200102_232.JPG: Western Union telegram to Ruth Givings, April 10, 1944
VHSDE2_200102_238.JPG: "Spit Fire" patch, about 1944
This patch, which belonged to 2nd Lieutenant Clemenceau Givings, represents the insignia of the 332nd Fighter Group -- popularly known as the Tuskegee Airmen. A black panther spewing red flames embodies their ferocity and enacts their motto, "SPIT FIRE!"
VHSDE2_200102_249.JPG: Clemenceau Givings
VHSDE2_200102_255.JPG: Tuskegee Airmen by the Numbers
352 deployed to Europe
1578 missions flown
84 airmen killed during the war
14000+ total personnel
VHSDE2_200102_263.JPG: Mary Johnson Sprow
VHSDE2_200102_267.JPG: Richard & Mildred Loving
VHSDE2_200102_273.JPG: Impact of Loving
Loving v. Virginia (1967) is one of many examples of how the fight for equal justice for black Americans has also advanced the civil rights of other groups. The U.S. Supreme Court cited Loving in its decision on Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which legalized same-sex marriage.
In guaranteeing Americans the right to marry regardless of race or gender, both cases drew on the Fourteenth Amendment's promise of equal protection under the law.
VHSDE2_200102_276.JPG: Application for Marriage License, mid-1920s
Virginia required marriage applicants to specify their race. Only those "with no trace whatsoever of colored blood" could identify as "white." Such attempts to fix racial categories denied historical realities that European, African, and Native peoples had been mixing for centuries, and that many Virginians had mixed ancestry resulting from the sexual exploitation of enslaved women.
VHSDE2_200102_322.JPG: Declaration of Convictions, May 3, 1956
Supporters of Massive Resistance couched their racist opposition to school desegregation as concern for states' rights. This declaration by a white citizens group from Prince Edward County decries the Brown decision as a form of federal "tyranny" and an "assault ... upon the liberties of our people."
VHSDE2_200102_334.JPG: Barbara Johns Powell
VHSDE2_200102_338.JPG: Zyahna Bryant
VHSDE2_200102_343.JPG: Charlottesville Pilgrimage T-shirt, 2018
In July 2018, members of the Charlottesville community held a ceremony to gather soil from the site where John Henry James was murdered by a lynch mob in 1898.
VHSDE2_200102_344.JPG: Spent tear gas canister, 2017
Police used this tear gas canister to disperse demonstrators protesting the KKK rally in Charlottesville on July 8, 2017. Such clashes turned deadly during the "United the Right" rally the following month, when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
VHSDE2_200102_349.JPG: The Ongoing Fight
VHSDE2_200102_352.JPG: Indicators of Economic Disparities
Between white and black families, 1968 to present
VHSDE2_200102_355.JPG: Wyatt Tee Walker
VHSDE2_200102_359.JPG: Barbara Johns Powell
VHSDE2_200102_365.JPG: Decisive Moments
VHSDE2_200102_371.JPG: Lunch counter stool, about 1950
From Woolworth's, 501 East Broad Street, Richmond
This stool comes from the Woolworth's lunch counter in Richmond, where Virginia Union University students held a sit-in on February 20, 1960 to protest segregated service. Such protests hit businesses hard. By late 1963, more than one-quarter of the city's 400 restaurants and cafes had integrated.
VHSDE2_200102_380.JPG: Program for a mass meeting, March 28, 1962
Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Effective coordination between local groups and national organizations, like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helped drive the success of the civil rights movement.
One attendee of a 1962 SCLC event in Petersburg had his program signed by Martin Luther King, Jr., Wyatt Tee Walker, Ralph Abernathy, and other leaders.
VHSDE2_200102_397.JPG: '60s Demanding Justice
VHSDE2_200102_399.JPG: Martyrs & Allies
VHSDE2_200102_405.JPG: Letter from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, December 3, 1958
VHSDE2_200102_410.JPG: Western Union telegram from Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker from the White House, June 12, 1963
VHSDE2_200102_414.JPG: R.E. Lee, A Biography, Vol. 1, 1935
Douglas Southall Freeman
In February 1960, Wyatt Tee Walker was arrested trying to check out this book from the whites-only section of the Petersburg Public Library.
VHSDE2_200102_416.JPG: "Freedom Cup," about 1961
VHSDE2_200102_424.JPG: Financial statement for the Law Offices of Hill, Martin, and Olphin, September 1957
The legal fight to desegregate Virginia' schools began when NAACP lawyers Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson met with Barbara Johns and other Moton students. This document shows Hill's financial accounting for the lawsuit, which became part of Brown v. Board of Education.
VHSDE2_200102_428.JPG: Landmark Legislation
VHSDE2_200102_435.JPG: Arthur Ashe
VHSDE2_200102_445.JPG: Gladys West
VHSDE2_200102_453.JPG: Arthur Ashe Le Coq Sportif tennis shoes, about 1975
VHSDE2_200102_478.JPG: Missy Elliott
VHSDE2_200102_484.JPG: Track-suit jacket from Adidas "Respect M.E." line, about 2004
VHSDE2_200102_490.JPG: L. Douglas Wilder
VHSDE2_200102_496.JPG: Poster from Wilder's state senate campaign, 1969
VHSDE2_200102_513.JPG: I never thought I'd see an African American president.
-- Virginia citizen who immigrated to the United States from Gambia in 1978
VHSDE2_200102_516.JPG: Old Virginny is dead.
-- Governor Tim Kaine, 2008
VHSDE2_200102_517.JPG: Change in 2008
VHSDE2_200102_548.JPG: Commemorative street signs from Arthur Ashe Boulevard dedication ceremony, 2019
VHSDE2_200102_562.JPG: Fostering Change
VHSDE2_200102_563.JPG: To Be Determined...
VHSDE2_200102_570.JPG: Muster and payroll of Company E, 30th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, June-August, 1864
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