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Indians in Virginia
A broad overview of the history and culture of Virginia's Indians
. Our entry includes information on the languages, religions, and politics of Indians at the time Jamestown was founded. It explains where such information comes from. And, finally, it follows the tribes into the twenty-first century, from assimilation and near cultural annihilation to, for a number of tribes, state recognition. (Image courtesy of The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia)
Indentured Servants in Colonial Virginia
Filling an inexhaustible need in colonial Virginia.
Elite Virginians required laborers and found them in indentured servants. Our entry explains why so many men and women were willing to risk their lives in the wilds of Virginia, how the system worked, and why, eventually, it gave way to racial slavery. Primary documents, meanwhile, help flesh out their lived experiences. The story of Jane Dickenson is particularly poignant. (Image courtesy of the University of Virginia Special Collections)
Virginia's First Africans
"20. and odd Negroes."
They arrived in 1619, having been stolen at sea from a Portuguese slave ship. Our entry explains some surprising truths about their probable lives in Africa and what happened to them once they were in Virginia. (Image courtesy of the Library of Virginia)
Buck v. Bell
"Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
So declared Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in his 1927 ruling that Virginia could sterilize Carrie E. Buck (at left), whom it deemed feebleminded and promiscuous. Our entry walks readers through the details and implications of this decision and how it relates to the burgeoning eugenics movement. The connection to Nazi Germany is especially unsettling. (Image courtesy of SUNY Albany)
Oliver W. Hill
Civil rights hero.
Oliver Hill served as lead attorney for the Virginia chapter of the NAACP. He and his colleagues filed more legal challenges to segregation than any other lawyers in the South, but it was Hill who stood out. "Gentlemen, face the dawn and not the setting sun," he told a group of officials resisting desegregation. "A new day is being born." (Image courtesy of the
Edgar Allan Poe
"Only this, and nothing more."
Raised in Richmond, Edgar Allan Poe became one of the most important writers in American history. So many of his stories and poems have become legendary, but what do you know about his stint at the head of Virginia's influential magazine the
Southern Literary Messenger
? Our entry also uncovers a fraudulent Poe photo and gives readers a virtual tour of a Poe museum in Richmond. (Image courtesy of the University of Virginia Special Collections)