Author: Kendra Hamilton

an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer in the University of Virginia's women, gender, and sexuality program

Negro in Virginia, The (1940)

The Negro in Virginia, published in 1940, traces the political, economic, and social history of African Americans in Virginia from the arrival of the first Africans in 1619 through the American Revolution (1775–1783), the American Civil War (1861–1865), Reconstruction (1865–1877), and the rise of Jim Crow laws in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. One of a planned series of “racial studies” undertaken by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), the book was completed by the Virginia Writers’ Project (VWP). Specifically, it was researched and written under the auspices of the VWP’s Negro Studies Project and was published by the VWP. Relying on interviews with more than 300 former slaves, along with a wide-ranging review of the relevant literature and laborious primary research in courthouses and archives across the state, the book’s twenty-nine chapters constitute a singular achievement for its time: an attempt to tell what its editor, Professor Roscoe E. Lewis of Hampton Institute, called the “story of the Negro” from an African American point of view.