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Never Forget about 1619 (400 Years

Years Later)


Life is about changes. This era of Virginian history witness monumental changes. By the end
of this era of Virginia’s story, millions of black Americans were free from slavery. The Civil
War damaged large areas of Virginia, and the era of Reconstruction would come. Before that
time, slave revolts, governmental changes, and the expansion of American society developed.
Heroes from Gabriel Prosser, Dred Scott, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, Mary Elizabeth Bowser,
and William Henry Carney sacrificed their lives in order to promote our freedom. They were
courageous and bold not only in their words but in their actions to advance profound human
liberation. Therefore, the story of Virginia is not only related to American history. It is related
to world human history. Glory and legitimate power is part of our journey for freedom, and
we believe in love, in empathy, in compassion, and in integrity. Treating people right is our
motto indeed. Virginia is home to some of the greatest people in the world.

This was the view of

Richmond above
the Canal Basin,
after the Evacuation
Fire of 1865.
The Table of Contents

1. Preface 2. The Injustice of 3. Westward

Slavery Expansion

4. Regional 5. The Industrial 6. The American

Divisions Revolution Civil War

7. The End of the

Era, the Start of
America saw victory over the British after the American Revolutionary War in 1783 via the
Treaty of Paris. America became a new nation. Back then, America was filled with the
profound contradiction of proclaiming liberty, but restricting liberty among black people,
women, Native Americans, the poor, and other human beings. Virginia, as the
commonwealth, saw a new era of time. Virginia was no longer subject to the laws of the
Crown. It became its own state bounded under the United States of America. Now, Virginia
was the most disgraceful supporter of slavery back then. By 1800, Virginia had more slaves
than any other state in the Union. After the heroic rebellion of Nat Turner, slavery was more
strictly supported in Virginia. Industrial growth came about, and rumbles of war existed.
Abolitionists, black heroes, and other people fought against slavery. The Southern oligarchy
refused to end slavery. After the Southern unilateral attack at Fort Sumter, the Civil War
commenced. Almost 1 million soldiers on both sides died. Buildings were destroyed, and
black people contributed heavily to defeating the evil Confederacy. In fact, Lincoln allowing
black soldiers to serve in the Union was one factor on why the Union was victorious. Virginia
was the location of the capital of the Confederacy in Richmond. The Union forces took
Hampton Roads early in the Civil War. Taking Richmond would take some time. By 1865,
Union conquered Vicksburg (which cut the Confederacy in half) and Richmond. Ulysses S.
Grant made Robert Lee surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. Soon, the Confederacy was totally
defeated. Slaves were now free. Black Virginians saw Reconstruction. Still, the journey for
freedom would continue, as black people would continue to fight Jim Crow injustices.
Therefore, all of the history of Virginia must be shown in order to witness a comprehensive
outlook on Virginia’s legacy.
African American Virginian Heroes

Dred Scott (1799-1858) was born in Virginia Estelle Randolph (1870- William Harvey Carney (1840-1940)
Southampton County, Virginia. In his 1958) was one of the great Virginian was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He was
life, he fought for his freedom educators. She was born in the first black American Medal of
against slavery. He loved his family, Richmond, Virginia. She taught Honor recipient. He was decorated
and despite the Supreme Court vocational education to many for his great heroism on July 18,
being against him, he continued to students. Randolph was 1863. He worked hard to fight for
advanced liberty in his life. Before posthumously honored by the black equality throughout his life. He
his passings, he worked in St. Louis, Library of Virginia as one of their was the Sergeant of the 54th
Missouri as a free human being. "Virginia Women in History" for her Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry of
career and contributions to the Union (which has been
education. celebrated in the iconic film Glory).
The Injustice of Slavery
After the Revolutionary War, export markets involving tobacco in Europe continued. Old
local elites wanted the status quo. Younger veterans of the Revolutionary war wanted a new
national identity. These veterans were led by George Washington and James Madison. They
played a role in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. Madison proposed the
Virginia Plan. This plan would establish representation in Congress according to the total
population (which included a proportion of slaves). Back then, Virginia was the most populous
states, and it was allowed to count all of its white residents and 3/5 of the enslaved African
Americans for its congressional representation and its electoral vote. (Only white men who
owned a certain amount of property could vote in America). Ratification was bitterly contested;
the pro-Constitution forces prevailed only after promising to add a Bill of Rights. The Virginia
Ratifying Convention approved the Constitution by a vote of 89–79 on June 25, 1788, making
it the tenth state to enter the Union. Madison had a large role in the new Congress.
Washington was chosen as the numinous choice as the first President. He was followed by the
Virginia Dynasty, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, giving the
state four of the first five presidents.
There was the hypocrisy of people like Jefferson writing about “all men are created equal”
while supporting slavery. Many African Americans (from southern states like in Georgia and
South Carolina) escaped to British lines and freedom during the Revolutionary War.
Thousands of black Americans left with the British for resettlement in their colonies of Nova
Scotia and Jamaica. Some went to England. Others came into rural and frontier areas of the
North. Inspired by the Revolution and evangelical preachers, numerous slaveholders in the
Chesapeake region manumitted some or all of their slaves, during their lifetimes or by will.
From 1,800 persons in 1782, the total population of free blacks in Virginia increased to 12,766
(4.3 percent of blacks) in 1790, and to 30,570 in 1810; the percentage change was from free
blacks' comprising less than one percent of the total black population in Virginia, to 7.2
percent by 1810, even as the overall population increased.

One planter, Robert Carter III freed more than 450 slaves in his lifetime, more than any other
planter. George Washington freed all of his slaves at his death. Many free black people
migrated from rural areas to towns like Petersburg, Richmond, and Charlottesville for jobs and
community. Other migrated with their families to the frontier. The frontier had a more
relaxed social structure. Among the oldest black Baptist congregations in the nation were two
founded near Petersburg before the Revolution. Each congregation moved into the city and
built churches by the early 19th century. Twice, slave rebellions broke out in Virginia:
Gabriel's Rebellion in 1800 and Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831. White reaction was swift and
harsh, and militias killed many innocent free blacks and black slaves as well as those directly
involved in the rebellions. After the second rebellion, the legislature passed laws restricting the
rights of free people of color (i.e. black people): they were excluded from bearing arms,
serving in the militia, gaining education, and assembling in groups. As bearing arms and
serving in the militia were considered obligations of free citizens, free black people came
under severe constraints after Nat Turner's rebellion.
Westward Expansion
Massive Western emigration came about in America during this time. Virginia had divided
into other U.S. states and territories. By 1784, Virginia relinquished its claims to Illinois
County, Virginia except for the Virginia Military District (in Southern Indiana). In 1775,
Daniel Boone blazed a trail for the Transylvania Company from Fort Chiswell in Virginia
through Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky.

The Wilderness Road was the principal route where settlers used for more than 50 years to
reach Kentucky form the East. The government rewarded veterans of the Revolutionary War
with plots of land along the Ohio River in the Northwest Territory. In 1792, three western
counties split off to form Kentucky. More fertile lands were in the West as soil in Virginia was
depleted after 200 years of farming for tobacco. The 1803 Louisiana Purchase accelerated the
westward movement of Virginians out of Virginia. Many of the Virginians whose grandparents
had created the Virginia Establishment began to emigrate and settle westward. Famous
Virginian-born Americans affected not only the destiny of the state of Virginia, but the rapidly
developing American Old West. Virginians Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were
influential in their famous 1804-1806 expedition to explore the Missouri River and possible
connections to the Pacific Ocean. Notable names such as Stephen F. Austin, Edwin Waller,
Haden Harrison Edwards, and Dr. John Shackelford were famous Texan pioneers from
Virginia. Robert E. Lee was once a military leader in Texas during the 1846–48 Mexican–
American War. Between the American Revolution and the Civil War, historians estimate that
one million Virginians left the commonwealth. This exodus caused Virginia to see a decline in
population and political influence. Virginian culture spread in the West. That is why many
parts of the American South culture can be traced to Virginians who migrated west.
Regional Divisions
There was the cultural divide between Tidewater planters and Western Virginia farmers.
Western areas of Virginia developed. The General Assembly had to deal with the differences
in agriculture, culture, and transportation needs of the different areas of Virginia. The eastern
region of Virginia was older. Slavery was part of its economy. Planters had mixed crops from
just tobacco crops. Many planters had slaves and used their economies to oppress innocent
human beings. Many planters depended on slavery to make financial profits. Watersheds on
most of this area eventually drained to the Atlantic Ocean. In the western reaches, families
farmed smaller homesteads, mostly without enslaved or hired labor. Settlers were expanding
the exploitation of resources: mining of minerals and harvesting of timber. The land drained
into the Ohio River Valley, and trade followed the rivers. Back then, the state legislature of
Virginia was in favor of the most populous eastern areas and the historic planter oligarchs.
Slaves were partially counted in its population, but slaves couldn’t vote. Women couldn’t vote
in Virginia back then. This gave more power to white men. The legislature used efforts to deal
with these issues. There was no long term resolution at that time. Thus, at the outset of the
American Civil War, Virginia was caught not only in national crisis, but in a long-standing
controversy within its own boundaries. While other border states had similar regional
differences, Virginia had a long history of east-west tensions which finally came to a head; it
was the only state to divide into two separate states during the War. On October 16, 1859, the
revolutionary abolitionist John Brown led a group of 22 men in a raid on the Federal Arsenal
in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. U.S. troops, led by Robert E. Lee, responded and quelled the raid.
Subsequently, Brown was tried and executed by hanging in Charles Town on December 2,
Unsung Resistance Against Tyranny

The Aponte Rebellion was The Amistad resistance was Gaspar Yanga led a revolt
found in Cuba. It took place in about Africans rebelling on against slavery in Mexico. He
1812 and it was led by Jose the Spanish schooner La was from the Bran people
Antonio Aponte. Back then, Amistad. These Africans were (from a royal family from
slavery dominated Cuba, and kidnapped and enslaved Gabon). The Angolan
black people fought against it. temporarily after the slave Francisco de la Matosa was
Jose was a freeman. His trade was banned in America. another leader in the revolt.
influences were in all over Their treatment was so unjust This took place in 1609.
Cuban areas. He worked with that even the Supreme Court Finally in 1618, Yanga
Hilario Herrera (a Dominican during the 19th century said achieved an agreement with
biracial anti-slavery leader). that the Africans (who were the colonial government for
Later, the plan was stopped, Mende with one leader named self-rule of the maroon
and one person was hanged. Cinque) are free forever. They settlement. It was later called
came into Sierra Leone. A San Lorenzo de los Negros,
statue of Cinqué was erected and also San Lorenzo de
beside the City Hall building Cerralvo. This area was found
in New Haven, Connecticut in the Veracruz province of
in 1992. Mexico known as Yanga.

Celebrate Truth and Always Stand up

for Justice.
The Industrial Revolution
After the Revolutionary War, infrastructure projects developed in Virginia. They included the
Dismal Swamp Canal, the James River and Kanawha Canal, and many turnpikes. Virginia was
home to the first of all federal infrastructure projects under the new Constitution. The Cape
Henry Light of 1792 was located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. After the War of 1812,
many federal national defense projects were undertaken in Virginia. Drydock Number One
was constructed in Portsmouth in the year of 1827. Across the James River, Fort Monroe was
built to defend Hampton Roads, completed in 1834. In the 1830’s, railroads began to be built
in Virginia. In 1831, Chesterfield Railroad began hauling coal from the mines in Midlothian to
docks at Manchester (near Richmond), powered by gravity and draft animals. The first railroad
in Virginia to be powered by locomotives was the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac
Railroad, chartered in 1834, with the intent to connect with steamboat lines at Aquia Landing
running to Washington, D.C. Soon after, others (with equally descriptive names) followed: the
Richmond and Petersburg Railroad and Louisa Railroad in 1836, the Richmond and Danville
Railroad in 1847, the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in 1848, and the Richmond and York
River Railroad. In 1849, the Virginia Board of Public Works established the Blue Ridge
Railroad. Under Engineer Claudius Crozet, the railroad successfully crossed the Blue Ridge
Mountains via the Blue Ridge Tunnel at Afton Mountain.

Petersburg became a manufacturing center, as well as a city where free black artisans and
craftsmen could make a living. In 1860, half its population was black and of that, one-third
were free black people, the largest such population in the state. There were extensive iron
deposits especially in the western counties. Virginia was a pioneer in the iron industry. The
first ironworks in the new world was created at Falling Creek in 1619, though it was destroyed
in 1622. There would eventually grow to be 80 ironworks, charcoal finances and forges with
7,000 hands at any one time. 70 percent of these works were slaves. Ironmasters hired slaves
form local slave owners, because they were cheaper than white workers, they would control
them, and they couldn’t switch to a better employer. The wages came to the owner not to the
workers. The workers were forced to work hard, they were fed poorly, clothed poorly, and
were separated from their families. Virginia's industry increasingly fell behind Pennsylvania,
New Jersey and Ohio, which relied on free labor. Bradford (1959) recounts the many
complaints about slave laborers and argues the over-reliance upon slaves contributed to the
failure of the ironmasters to adopt improved methods of production for fear the slaves would
sabotage them. Most of the black people in the iron factories were unskilled manual laborers;
although Lewis (1977) reports that some were in skilled positions.

The American Civil War

The state of Virginia had a very important role in the American Civil War. The U.S. Civil
War was the bloodiest war in American history on American soil. On November 15, 1860
Virginia Governor John Letcher called for a special session of the General Assembly to
consider, among other issues, the creation of a secession convention. Virginia at first refused to
join the Confederacy on April 4, 1861. Many Virginians didn’t like the rash secession from the
lower South. It did so after President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1861 called for the troops
from all states. That meant that federal troops crossing Virginia on the way south to subdue
South Carolina from doing treason against the Union. On April 1861, the convention voted to
secede. Virginia was a Southern slave holding state filled with racism. You have to keep it real
about such things. The voters ratified the decision on May 23, 1861. Immediately, the Union
army moved into northern Virginia and captured Alexandria without a fight. It controlled it for
the remainder of the war. The Wheeling area had opposed secession and remained strong for
the Union. Because of its strategic significance, the Confederacy relocated its capital to
Richmond by May 1861 form Montgomery, Alabama. Richmond was at the end of a long
supply line and as the highly symbolic capital of the Confederacy became the main target of
round after round of invasion attempts. A major center of iron production during the civil war
was located in Richmond at Tredegar Iron Works. Tredegar Iron Works produced most of
the artillery for the war. Richmond was home to many army hospitals too. Libby Prison for
captured Union officers gained an infamous reputation for the overcrowded and harsh
conditions. There was a high death rate there.

Richmond’s main defenses were trenches built surrounding it down towards the nearby city of
Petersburg. Saltville was a primary source of Confederate salt (critical for food preservation)
during the war, leading to the two Battles of Saltville. The first major battle of the Civil War
occurred on July 21, 1861. Union forces attempted to take control of the railroad junction at
Manassas, but the Confederate Army reached it first and won the First Battle of Manassas
(known as "Bull Run" in Northern naming convention). Both sides mobilized for war; the year
1861 went on without another major fight. The Confederates won the First Battle of Bull Run.
Union general George B. McClellan was forced to retreat from Richmond by Robert E. Lee's
army. Union General Pope was defeated at the Second Battle of Manassas. This came after
the one-sided Confederate victory Battle of Fredericksburg. Men from all economic and social
levels, both slaveholders and non-slaveholders, as well as former Unionists, enlisted in great
numbers on both sides. Areas, especially in the west and along the border that sent few men to
the Confederacy were characterized by few slaves, poor economies, and a history of real
antagonism to the Tidewater.

The western counties of Virginia could not tolerate the Confederacy. They broke away and
formed the Union state of Virginia, which was recognized by Washington. It was called the
Restored government of Virginia and was based in Alexandria, across the river form
Washington. The Restored government did little except give its permission for Congress to
form the new state of West Virginia in 1862. On May 24, 1861, the U.S. Army moved into
northern Virginia and captured Alexandria without a fight. Most of the battles in the Eastern
Theater of the American Civil War took place in Virginia because the Confederacy had to
defend its national capital at Richmond, and public opinion in the North demanded that the
Union move "On to Richmond!" From May to August 1861, a series of Unionist conventions
met in Wheeling. The Second Wheeling Convention constituted itself as a legislative body
called the Restored Government of Virginia. It declared Virginia was still in the Union but that
the state offices were vacant and elected a new governor, Francis H. Pierpont. This body
gained formal recognition by the Lincoln administration on July 4. On August 20, the
Wheeling body passed an ordinance for the creation. It was put to public vote on October 24.

These are African American Union soldiers at an abandoned farm house at Dutch Gap,
Virginia (in 1864).

The vote was in favor of a new state called West Virginia. This was distinct form the Pierpont
government, which persisted until the end of the Civil War. Congress and Lincoln approved,
and, after providing for gradual emancipation of slaves in the new state constitution, West
Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863. In effect there were now three states: the
Confederate Virginia, the Union Restored Virginia, and West Virginia. The state and national
governments in Richmond did not recognize the new state, and Confederates did not vote
there. The Confederate government in Richmond sent in Robert E. Lee. Yet, Lee found little
local support and was defeated by Union forces from Ohio. Union victories in 1861 drove the
Confederate forces out of the Monongahela and Kanawha valleys, and throughout the
remainder of the war the Union held the region west of the Alleghenies and controlled the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the north. The new state was not subject to Reconstruction.

The remainder of the Civil War had many major battles being fought across Virginia including
the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the
Battle of Brandy Station. Many Confederates admitted the U.S. Civil War was over slavery
and their promotion of racism. Virginian Confederate cavalryman William M. Thompson
admitted that he wanted secession to prevent black people from marrying white women:
“Better, far better! Endure all the horrors of civil war than to see the dusky sons of Ham
leading the fair daughters of the South to the altar.” (William M. Thompson, letter to Warner
A. Thompson, (February 2, 1861). These racists like Thompson were paranoid since the vast
majority of black men were marrying black women back then and today. Thomas F. Goode
admitted that that the debate on secession was about the issue of slavery. In 1894, Virginian
and former Confederate soldier John S. Mosby, reflecting back on his role in the war, stated in
a letter to friend that "I've always understood that we went to war on account of the thing we
quarreled with the North about. I've never heard of any other cause of quarrel than slavery."
Richmond was the only large-scale industrial city controlled by the Confederacy during most of
the Civil War. The city's warehouses were the supply and logistical center for Confederate

These black human beings escaped slavery to be in the land controlled by Union soldiers.
They would be free by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and ultimately by the end of
the American Civil War by 1865.
The Population of America The Percentage of
during the Civil War (in the American Civil War
millions of people) forces
The Population of America during the Civil War (in the
millions of people)
Union forces

67% forces


More Statistical Information about

the American Civil War
The estimated 50%
percentage of Civil War
deaths that occurred
during the last 2 years of
the U.S. Civil War.
The amount of enslaved 4 million people
persons in America in
The number of people About 900 people.
who died in the 12 hours
at the Battle of Bull Run

The numbers of Union 2.1 million people

forces mobilized to fight
for the Union army
The number of people 880,000 people
who mobilized for fight
for the Confederacy
Railroad miles of the 29,100
Union in 1864
Exports from the Union 98% of all U.S. exports
Over the duration of the Civil War, despite the occasional tactical victories and large counter
strike raids, Confederate control of many regions of Virginia was gradually lost to Federal
Union advance. By 1862, the northern 9th and 10th Congressional districts along the Potomac
were under Union control. Eastern Shore, Northern, Middle and Lower Peninsula and the
2nd congressional district surrounding Norfolk west to Suffolk were permanently Union-
occupied by May 1862. Other regions, such as the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley,
regularly changed hands through numerous campaigns. In 1864, the Union Army planned to
attack Richmond by a direct overland approach through Overland Campaign and the Battle of
the Wilderness, culminating in the Siege of Petersburg which lasted from the summer of 1864
to April 1865. By November 6, 1864, Confederate forces controlled only four of Virginia's 16
congressional districts in the region of Richmond-Petersburg and their Southside counties. In
April 1865, Richmond was burned by a retreating Confederate Army; Lincoln walked the city
streets to cheering crowds of newly freed black human beings. The Confederate government
fled south, pausing in Danville for a few days. The end came when Lee surrendered to Ulysses
Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.
The End of an Era, the Start of Reconstruction

After the bloodiest war in Americans history, the South was in ruins, Richmond, Virginia had
buildings, which were completely destroyed. Many residents of Virginia existed in abject
poverty. A new era of American history existed with industry, social changes, and other forms
of immigration. The good news was that the Confederacy was gone forever. Tons of formerly
black American slaves became free from bondage after the United States Civil War. Black
people immediately saw Reconstruction. Reconstruction history existed long before 1865, but
Reconstruction was firmly established by the year of 1865. After Abraham Lincoln's evil
assassination (on April of 1865), Andrew Johnson became the new President. Virginia was in a
crossroads. While many African Americans formed business, worked in various jobs in
Virginia, and came into state legislatures, Jim Crow soon was a way of life in Virginia for
decades until the 1960's. The journey of the Civil War in Virginia made us aware that legalized
slavery ought to be firmly abolished, and human justice must be maintained globally (for all
human beings are created equal regardless of color, race, sex, or background). This new
chapter of Virginian history would change lives forevermore.

By Timothy
These 2images shows early images of people in Hampton University.

Having self-reflection, treating people right, and executing

altruism will build the soul. The next part of this series
will involve Virginia’s history in Reconstruction and all
the way into the early 20th century.

Goodbye for now.