Encyclopedia Virginia is pleased to announce that we are the recipients of a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a three-year project to tell the inclusive story of the American Revolution in Virginia. The project is funded in part by the NEH’s special initiative, A More Perfect Union, which is designed to demonstrate and enhance the critical role the humanities play in our nation, while also supporting projects that will help Americans commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026.
By the People: The Inclusive Story of Revolution in Virginia, 1763–1800 will promote a deeper understanding of the American Revolution and how it shaped our Commonwealth and country by prioritizing multiple historical perspectives and investigating the lives and circumstances of many different Virginians. “Even with abundant scholarship illuminating the roles of diverse Virginians—enslaved, bound, and free; white, Black, and Native; male and female—in the Revolution, public memory tends to return to the same people, events, and stories,” said Peter Hedlund, EV’s director. “This project endeavors to change that and by doing so contribute to a narrative in which all Americans can see themselves reflected.”
This exciting new section of EV content addressing the American Revolution and its aftermath in Virginia will include 150 scholarly and biographical entries that cover the period from 1763 to 1800; primary resources, media objects, and virtual tours that further illuminate this period; and a select group of entries designed for use by fourth- and eighth-grade readers. In addition to working with longtime partners, such as the Library of Virginia, which is providing fifty biographical entries, EV will work with two new partners, the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown and the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, to provide images and digitize relevant artifacts that are not widely available.
EV editorial staff will work from a list of topics created in collaboration with historians Woody Holton, the McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, and Christa Dierkesheide, the Brockman Foundation Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professor and Director for the Center for the Study of the Age of Jefferson at the University of Virginia, and vetted by the Library of Virginia and Kenah Consulting, which works with tribal clients and cultural institutions to ensure tribal ownership of tribal history.
Work will begin immediately on By the People. Stay tuned to the EV Blog for updates and an inside look at the process of adding a major new content section to EV.