Author: Patricia Miller

editor of Encyclopedia Virginia
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Juneteenth

As the nation and Virginia prepares to celebrate Juneteenth, our new entry by Lauranett Lee takes a look at how the poignant celebration of the belated emancipation of the Black residents of Galveston, Texas, became a nationwide holiday incorporating a number of Freedom Day traditions, including those celebrated in Virginia. And while Juneteenth lays claim to being […]

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Founding Fathers, Mothers, and Others

Warren G. Harding is credited with coining the term “Founding Fathers” to refer to the men who led the American Revolution and “dedicated a new republic to liberty and justice,” as he said in a 1916 speech to the Republican National Convention. There’s more than a little irony here. Harding was one of our least presidential […]

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An especially malevolent form of American entrepreneurship

“Slave trader.” It’s one of the most loathsome expressions in the English language. Even enslavers claimed to recoil at that designation in the era when slavery flourished. Andrew Jackson took umbrage at being called a “negro-trader” during the bitter presidential election of 1828, even though the slaves he bought and sold as a young man […]

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A Song by Any Other Name

What’s in a name? In the case of the now-retired state song of Virginia, a lot. The tale of the twisting, somewhat torturous history of “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” tells us a lot about Lost Cause mythology, half-hearted attempts to erase the stain of racism, and what true reconciliation requires. “Carry Me Back […]

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The Remarkable Journey of Elizabeth Keckly

Few stories in Encyclopedia Virginia are more dramatic than that of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly. Born into slavery in Dinwiddie Courthouse, in the Piedmont region of Virginia, during the presidency of James Monroe, by the time that Abraham Lincoln entered the White House in 1861, not only was Keckly a free woman, but she was also Washington, D.C.’s most […]

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Bernard Cohen and the Legacy of Loving

Bernard Cohen, one of the two lawyers who successfully took on one of the last laws underpinning legal segregation in the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, died on October 12 at the age of eighty-six. Brooklyn-born Cohen was practicing law in Alexandria in 1963 when he was asked to take the case of Richard and […]

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EV Election Edition

The air is crisp, and the first hints of color are showing in the Blue Ridge, which means that pumpkin spice lattes and the fifty-ninth U.S. presidential election must be around the corner. It’s easy to think that we live in uniquely unsettling political times. But a look at the past shows that the country […]

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“Lonely Days and Fearful Nights:” The Norfolk Yellow Fever Epidemic

At its best, history opens a window in time that helps illuminate the past and the present. Such is Encyclopedia Virginia’s new entry on the long-forgotten Norfolk and Portsmouth Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1855, contributed by Addeane Caelleigh, who also wrote the EV entry on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Virginia. You aren’t alone if you’ve never heard of […]

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Telling the Whole Story of Woman Suffrage

As Encyclopedia Virginia director Peter Hedlund recently noted here on the EV blog, we are committed to revising existing entries to eliminate racial bias and better reflect new historical understandings of key moments in Virginia history. One such entry that needed revision was our entry on Woman Suffrage in Virginia, which failed to adequately note the contributions of Black women to the […]

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What Comes After?

The old Style Council song “Walls Come Tumbling Down” has been running through my head all week as we watch the commemorative landscape of Richmond being re-made in real time: Are you gonna try to make this workOr spend your days down in the dirtYou see things can change Yes and walls can come tumbling down […]

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