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Virginia's General Assembly passed an act to create the state's first public school system on July 11, 1870. Section 47 of the act required that "white and colored persons shall not be taught in the same school, but in separate schools, under the…

In this contract, Catharine L. Cate agreed to work as a cook for B. J. Johns for the rate of $5 per month along with lodging and rations ("found"). They agreed that any changes to the contract would be made before a local Freedmen's Bureau agent,…

In December 1865 Nancy Arvin contracted with William Arvin Jr., possibly her former owner, to care for his farm for a suit of summer and winter clothing for her and three of her children and for wages for two of her other children. In the aftermath…

This November 1865 contract between William D. Floyd, of Lunenburg County, and six members of the Burnett family is a fairly typical agreement by which a landowner allowed workers to farm his land in exchange of a share of the crop that the workers…

While the convention called to rewrite Virginia's constitution was meeting, a large gathering of white men organized the Conservative Party on December 11

In December 1865 Pollard Gaines, an African American, contracted with Royall H. Eubank to work his Nelson County farm, tend to all the livestock, repair buildings and fences, cut and haul firewood, fill the ice house, and cultivate the garden "for…

Before the Civil War, white Virginians feared slave rebellions and thus exerted repressive control over enslaved people. After the war they feared retribution by the freedpeople and in some parts of the state they attempted to disarm African…

Before the Civil War, churches often had black and white members, although they were segregated within the congregation. African American churches were required by Virginia law to have white ministers, and after the Civil War, many African Americans…

This 1869 lithograph from the Richmond studio of lithographer Charles Ludwig illustrated one fear that white Virginians entertained after the Civil War, that unscrupulous politicians would use government jobs in the post office or federal customs…

A joint Congressional committee was appointed in 1865 to determine whether the former Confederate states were entitled to have representation in Congress. More than one hundred witnesses testified early in 1866 about the situations in the four…
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