• Loving v. Virginia (1967)"Tell the court I love my wife." In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that interracial marriages were constitutional, striking down a Virginia law. But that's only part of the story. Our entry also tells of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, their love and their perseverance in the face of a system determined to outlaw their marriage. Most of the relevant court documents are linked. (Image courtesy of Getty Images)
  • Confederate Battle FlagA potent and controversial symbol. The Confederate battle flag began as a symbol of the Confederate army, but over time has also come to represent everything from states' rights to southern pride and white racial identity. Our entry considers this long and bumpy journey and what the flag means at the beginning of the twenty-first century. And check out the image of one of the very first battle flags, sewn by Constance Cary. (Image courtesy of the Museum of the Confederacy)
  • The Lost CauseA way of looking at the Civil War. Developed by white southerners, the Lost Cause refers to an interpretation of the war that romanticizes the "Old South" and Confederate heroism while downplaying the role of slavery. It was crucial in bringing about reconciliation in the postwar years—or at least reconciliation between whites. By encouraging a collective forgetting of the horrors of slavery, it helped justify the repression of "ungrateful" African Americans during the Reconstruction years. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
  • Virginia Ordinance of SecessionIn their own words. Passed on April 17, 1861, by a vote of 88 to 5, Virginia's Ordinance of Secession explains why the commonwealth had decided to secede. The federal government, its authors wrote, had "perverted" the U.S. Constitution, "not only the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slaveholding States." (Image courtesy of the Library of Virginia)
  • African American Churches in Virginia (1865–1900)Serving more than just spiritual needs. Black churches played huge roles in African American communities after the Civil War. They provided for spiritual needs, but also educational, political, and material. They served as a means of organizing black opinion and communicating it to the outside world. To attack a church, in other words, was to attack the very heart of the black community. (Image courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections)
  • Cornerstone Speech by Alexander H. Stephens"... its corner-stone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man." In this speech, given in 1861, Confederate vice president Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, argues that slavery was "the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution." (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
  • Virtual ToursAs if you're there. Working with Google's Earth Outreach team, Encyclopedia Virginia has created virtual tours of more than a dozen historic sites across Virginia, from Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest to the Anne Spencer House and Garden to Bacon's Castle. Explore the spaces as if you were actually walking through them and then use our resource to read up on their historical context. (Image courtesy of Google)
  • Fourteenth Amendment"... without due process of law." The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868, defines citizenship and provides that no rights be abridged without the due process of law. It was especially important in the U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (1967), which struck down state prohibitions on interracial marriage. But you'll find it cited in pretty much all civil rights cases. (Image courtesy of the National Archives)