A Publication of Virginia Foundation for the Humanitites
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At the heart of Virginia's most enduring scandal
. Did Sally Hemings bear Thomas Jefferson's children? Our biographical entry considers the question while providing the most complete online collection of primary documents related to Hemings's life. Readers can peruse everything from an 1873 newspaper interview with Madison Hemings to a more recent report on DNA evidence. And with luck, the historical Sally Hemings does not get lost in the furor. (Image courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
Loving v. Virginia
"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)
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)
Harry F. Byrd
"He ruled not with a command but with a nod."
Harry F. Byrd may have been the most important Virginia politician of the twentieth century, serving as state senator, governor, and U.S. senator and running a strict Democratic political machine. A responsible, pay-as-you-go approach to fiscal management serves as one of his legacies, but so does Massive Resistance. (Image courtesy of the University of Virginia Special Collections)
Age of Exploration
Sailing the seven seas.
The English weren't the first Europeans to visit Virginia. Our entry on the Age of Exploration carefully connects the dots between Christopher Columbus and Christopher Newport, sprinkling the narrative with remarkable primary documents. Readers won't believe the story of one Frenchman, left behind in America by the Huguenot Jean Ribault. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Robert E. Lee
The marble man.
One of the iconic figures in Virginia history, Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. Our entry guides readers through all the legendary victories and defeats, while considering Lee's complicated attitudes toward slavery and, after the war, black civil rights. Also find a recording of the scholar Gary Gallagher talking about Lee's famous decision to join the Confederacy. (Image courtesy of the Valentine Richmond History Center)