Virginia Slavery

On the morning of April 26, 1607 the
Jamestown Settlers arrived at Cape Henry.
The English came with no thoughts of enslaving the indigenous population or transporting African slaves as was being practiced by the Spanish at the time. For the first decade the mortality rate of the English settlers was high, but the Virginia Company of London kept sending more settlers with false promises of a wonderful life in Virginia. As costs mounted, in 1618 the Company began the practice of transporting indentured servants to subsidize their costs. White English people would work for a period of time before being given their freedom.  One of the first to take advantage of this in 1621 was the seventh son of an Anglican minister, Adam Thoroughgood.

Slave Ships Arrive at Old Point Comfort
1619 with the First African Slaves in Virginia

Sir George Yeardley (1587-1627), the father of Sarah Thoroughgood-Gookin-Yeardley’s third husband, was sent to Jamestown to be the new governor. Three weeks later, in late August 1619 the English pirate ship White Lion arrived at Point Comfort where they sold African slaves to the settlers in exchange for supplies, with Yeardley purchasing 15. The English pirate ship Treasurer was next to arrive four days later with 28 to 30 African slaves and sold only two or three.

Several weeks before arriving at Point Comfort, the Treasurer and White Lion attacked the slave ship, the San Juan Bautista carrying Angolans, sailing from Africa to America. The English pirates climbed aboard the Bautista, hoping to find a bounty of gold. Instead, they found the African Angolan slaves, victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade. The pirates took about 60, splitting them between the White Lion and the Treasurer. They took the young, healthiest captives.

At Point Comfort, they were split up, with the majority of the Angolans being acquired by wealthy and well-connected English planters. They were deemed indentured servants since Virginia had no clear-cut laws sanctioning slavery. When they acquired release, if at all from their indenture, a few prospered.  Known slaves coming on the Treasurer were Angelo (Angela), and Anthony and Isabella who had the first black child born in the American colonies. He was named William Tucker after their parents' master William Tucker. Baby William became the first African slave to be baptized in the American colonies on January 3rd, 1624. Later, other arrivals at Point Comfort were Anthony Johnson (1621) and Mary (1622). Within two years Anthony completed his indenture, married Mary and later acquired land by importing slaves to Virginia. On February 16, 1623, a census was taken in the colony, and African blacks included Anthony, William, John, Anthony, Angelo (Angela), John, Edward, Peter, Anthony, Frances, Margaret, Anthony and Isabella.

During these first fifty years a few blacks were able to acquire land, build their own homes, testify in court, vote, work and live among white settlers on an equal bases. Life started to change beginning in 1670 with a series of Slave Laws placing severe restrictions on their movements and conduct. In 1705 all Africans were stripped of their rights. In less than one century, the promise of freedom faded from memory, and the long night of slavery began.

John Punch – First Virginia Slave
The transformation of the social status of African, from indentures to slaves happened gradually. The first was in 1640 when a Virginia court sentenced African indentured servant John Punch to slavery after he attempted to flee his service. The two whites with whom he fled were sentenced only to an additional indenture service year. This marked the first legal sanctioning of slavery in the English colonies and was one of the first legal distinctions made between the English and Africans. As time progressed the fact that African-Americans could not read or write made court decisions harder on them.   

Large Increase of Slavery after
Enactment of the 1670 Slave Law
Beginning in the 1660s the flow of English indentured servants began to dry up and fell off dramatically in the early 1680s, forcing planters to rely more heavily on slaves. The switch to slaves was even made easier with a 1670 “slave law” stipulating that all Africans brought in by sea after 1670 had to be slaves for life. Virginia farmers and planters preferred a slave for life over a specified indenture period. The stage was now set for an explosion of slaves with the eighteenth-century accounting for eighty percent of all slaves brought to Virginia.

A Slave Named Peter - One of the First Photos Showing the Scars from being Wipped.
In 1687 a court recorded a Lynnhaven Parish trail for the act of fornication between a white woman Mary Williamson and a black man William. Mary was fined five hundred pounds of tobacco. The court records described William’s punishment stating he “hath arrogantly behave himself in Lynnhaven Church in the face of the Congregation. It is therefore ordered that the Sheriff take the said William into his custody and give him thirty lashes on his bare back.” This type of punishment persisted right up through the nineteenth century when one of the first gruesome photos in April 1863 shows the scars of a slave named Peter. 

A 1690s Slave Sale
With the increase of slaves, their lives worsened. Most slaves were sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor at the lash of the whip.  Families were separated, never to be seen again. 

Virginia Governor Sir William Gooch (1681 – 1751)
In 1730 Virginia Governor Gooch told the Bishop of London that some of the blame for slave unrest fell on cruel masters who "use their Negroes no better than their Cattle.

White Gold Fueled Slavery
The introduction of sugar, which become known as “White Gold,” changed the pre-industrial New World. Growing from little more than an exotic spice to a major export, it not only became responsible for the financing of the Virginia Colony but the 240-year long institution of southern slavery. Before the end of the eighteenth-century sugar from the West Indies and Brazil was the single major New World business. But this all changed when the Louisiana Territory became the first to begin granulating the sugar crystals. Along with rich soil, all that was needed were slaves to harvest the sugar-cane and work under dangerous conditions in sugar mills. By escalating the import of slaves from Africa, Louisiana quickly became the second-richest territory in per capital wealth.
The enslaved population in America climbed quickly as Europeans developed a craving for sugar products. In three centuries more than fifteen million African men, women, and children were forcibly brought to the New World by the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and British. Another estimated two million did not make it, dying on over-crowded and inhuman slave ships, victims of the Middle Passage, the second of three triangular commercial ventures. Ships from Europe traded manufactured goods for humans in Africa, as warlords and kings were willing to capture and sell members of other tribes.
Aside from Louisiana leading the colonies in deaths from harsh working conditions, the lives of Blacks during the Middle Passage became one of the largest genocides in history. Ironically, the demand for white gold was responsible for the demand for black slaves.
Tobacco in the eighteenth century became competitive in Virginia when John Rolfe’s “sweet” tobacco hit European Markets. Later in the nineteenth century the act “Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807” saw an upturn in profits for Virginia plantation owners as they made large profits selling their slaves to sugar and cotton plantations in the deep south. But nothing in colonial times would match the economy of Louisiana’s white gold.

March 25, the International Day of Remembrance
of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The Ark of Return, the Permanent Memorial to Honor the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, located at the Visitors' Plaza of UN Headquarters in New York.      

Mostly during the eighteenth century African men, women, and children were forcibly brought to the New World by the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and British, more than 15 million in a  400 span. Another estimated two million did not make it, dying on over-crowded and inhuman slave ships. They were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history. Every year on March 25, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. In order to more permanently honor the victims, the Ark of Return memorial was  unveiled on March 25, 2015. The winning design by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent, was selected through an international competition and announced in September 2013.

Lord Dunmore (1730-1809)
The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) gave slaves their first chance at freedom. On November 7, 1775 the royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, issued a proclamation freeing all slaves who would join his Majesty's Troops. Many fled from their masters and joined Dunmore. Five Thoroughgood names were listed on Lord Dunmore's African-American register, a show of respect for their slave owners. After the war all of them had to return to their slave owners once again with nothing to look forward to except an early death.

James Armistead Lafayette (1748 or 1760 - 1830 or 1832)
A better fate befell James Armistead Lafayette, enslaved under William Armistead of Virginia. William released James to serve the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War under the Marquis de Lafayette. As a double agent during the run-up to the 1781 Battle of Yorktown, James was accepted into the British fold, posing as a run-away slave. He fed British General Cornwallis false information about the Americans while disclosing very accurate and detailed accounts to the Americans, instrumental in helping General Washington defeat the British at Yorktown. In 1787, through the support of his master William, the Virginia Assembly granted James his freedom. Along with his family, James went on to became a successful farmer.

18th Century Slaves Working in the Fields of Lynnhaven Parish
Sometimes Alongside their Master
By the close of the eighteenth-century Virginia had the largest slave population of all the states, with almost forty-five percent of its households owning slaves. Slaves built, or helped build, Pembroke Manor, Ferry Plantation, Old Comfort, and Fairfield; and most likely other homes and churches. Following are records of Lynnhaven Parish Church members that had slaves.

The Adam Keeling House
Thomas Keeling (1608 - 1664) was one of Adam Thoroughgood’s 105 indentured servants.  After working off his indenture, Thomas I became a plantation owner from lands earned at the end of his indenture. His grandson Thomas II is generally acknowledged as the one responsible for building the Adam Keeling House in the late seventeenth century. When Thomas II died his estate records show that his wife was entitled to one-fifth of the seven slaves he held. A neighbor wanted one of them, Juggy Owens, 28, to be set free. Court records show Juggy was emancipated October 1, 1792. She is the fifth-generation ancestor of Dana Elaine Owens (born March 18, 1970), known professionally as Queen Latifah, an American singer and actress. The Keelings retained ownership of the Keeling House up through the Civil War years until the house was sold to John Avery in 1881. At about that time it was revealed that three slaves (Eliza Willy/Wilroy, Wilson Willy/Wilroy and Samuel Willy/Wiroy) were listed in Solom Keeling's will as belonging to him. He was one of the last Keeling House owners. 

Frances Land House Built in 1805
The house standing today is possibly over two Older Houses, 1732 & 1640
Francis Land II (1604 - 1657) arrived in 1638. He brought slaves to work his lucrative tobacco fields. By the mid-18th century his plantation had around 20 slaves, typical for the tobacco plantations in the area. The Lands were active in Lynnhaven Parish Church serving as Church Wardens in 1647 and 1727.
A typical Grand Manor House
like the Walke Fairfield Manor House
Colonel Thomas Walke I (1642 – 1694) was an immigrant from British-ruled Barbados. He made his fortune shipping goods to Barbados from Hampton Roads and slaves back to Hampton Roads from Barbados. Built in 1720 by slaves, Walke's Fairfield estate contained several buildings and a grand manor house. For 145 years the Walkes were dominant in the affairs of Lynnhaven Parish Church and in local government, each generation leaving slaves to their sons.  
The Sauders' Pembroke Manor House (1764 - present)
Acreage was given to Rev. Jonathan Saunders in 1694 by the King of England.  He provided religious leadership for the growing Lynnhaven Parish Church from 1695 to 1700. The Pembroke Manor House (still standing) was built in 1764 by his grandson Captain Jonathan Saunders I (1726 – 1765) using slave labor. 

Lynnhaven Parish / Old Donation Church
(1736 - present)
Parishes in Virginia frequently either purchased or hired slaves for labor projects using bequeathed funds. Another use of bequeathed funds was practiced by Lynnhaven Parish. The November 1762 will of Thomas Walke III instructed the Lynnhaven Parish vestry to exchange property he left to the church for child bearing slaves. Apparently having done so, in October 1767 a slave called Rachal was traded for another slave, apparently one of better child-bearing age. Two years later on October 3rd, 1779, the vestry records stated that slaves, named Harry, Lewis, Gefford, and Lydla, were “set apart for the said Robert Dickson's Widow's Dower,” and after her death, these slaves were to be used to benefit the education of poor male orphan children in Reverend Robert Dickson’s (1716-1777) free-school. In general church-owned slaves were at a disadvantage because no one individual had a concrete, personal financial interest in their well-being. This created poor conditions for these slaves while significantly strengthening the Anglican Church in Virginia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Rev. Anthony Walke's Manor House (1782 – 1828) (a sketch)
Toward the end of the eighteenth-century leaders began to talk about ending slavery. Most prominent was the Reverend Anthony Walke (1755 - 1814). He was the largest slaveholding minister in Tidewater Virginia.  Reverend Walke and other social leaders of the time, including Thomas Jefferson, were reluctant to confront this deep-rooted socially accepted custom. The only acceptable solution in Walke’s mind would be the prospect of freedom in years to come. He anticipated that his son David would give them freedom, but when Anthony died, he had over sixty-five slaves without a mention of their freedom in his will.

Charles McIntosh (1812-1862) Son of George McIntosh (1768-1863)
The Thalia neighborhood was home to a wealthy Norfolk merchant, George McIntosh (1768-1863) who lived at his Summerville Plantation (no longer standing). The manor house required sixteen slaves to work the plantation which initially took up most of the Thalia neighborhood. In 1800 he married Elizabeth Walke, a cousin who lived with Rev. Antony Walke at the Walke Manor House. After the house burned down in 1828, George McIntosh purchased the land and had slaves build the Ferry Plantation House in 1830 (the house standing today) for his son Charles Fleming McIntosh (1812-1862). 

Henry Robert Woodhouse (1811 - 1890)
@ Eastern Shore Chapel Cemetery.
Old Comfort (still standing) was built in 1832 for Henry Robert Woodhouse (1811 - 1890) using slave labor. He was the 8th generation ancestor of the first Woodhouse that settled in Lynnhaven Parish.  When the war was over, and slaves freed, Henry's slaves all stole off in the middle of the night leaving behind tiny black baby Jim who was found the next morning in the kitchen and raised by the Woodhouse family.

"He agreed to give me my manumission papers"
Toward the end of the eighteenth and into the early nineteenth century conditions began to improve for some slaves as slave masters increasingly freed them through wills. In 1782, the Virginia General Assembly passed a manumission law (the act of an owner freeing his slave). Here are a few examples:
*Will of Thomas Woodhouse (Will Book II page 62) “Negro Max I give him his freedom and five hundred dollars.” April 8, 1812.
*Will of Emanuel Fentress (Will Bock II page 399) “I leave my four slaves to be free forever; man David, boy Daniel, woman Letty, girl Cloe for them and their heirs.”
*Ned Keeling (1770-1846) became a free man in 1815. Shortly after his master’s death, Catherine Collette, a white woman bought Ned in order to save him from slave traders. After five years Ned was able to buy his family their freedom through manumission, Ned’s wife Amy, and two children, Peggy and William. By 1830, Ned held property valued at $1,000.00 from his job as a drayman (delivering beer for a brewery).

19th Century Slaves Working on Cotton Plantations
in the Deep South Under Harsh Conditions
On into the nineteenth century slave conditions again deteriorated. With the decline of tobacco and a shift to less profitable grains requiring fewer slaves, their keep became a burden with a number of socially extravagant Lynnhaven Parish plantation owners in debt to London Banks. Then the “Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807” turned plantation owners’ fortunes around. No longer able to import slaves, plantation owners sold their slaves to cotton plantations in the deep south where life in the fields meant "working sunup to sundown six days a week and having food sometimes not suitable for an animal to eat." Slave sales became a highly successful business venture in the Virginia economy right up to the Civil War. Between 1800 and 1861 as many as 500,000 African slaves were sold, Richmond being the largest slave market, second only to New Orleans. For those slaves left behind, most Virginia slaves owners had no thought of freeing them since the system of human bondage continued to fuel their economic prosperity. 

Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) born a slave, help hundreds of slaves reach freedom through a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She made 13 trips to the South, helping to free over 70 people. While she was sometimes featured in today’s classroom history books, they seldom mention other notable women of color, especially a famous Virginian, Isabella Gibbons (1836 – 1886). She lived and worked at the University of Virginia (UVA) as a slave. When the Emancipation Proclamation freed Isabella, she remained in Charlottesville and became a prominent member of the newly freed African American community as a schoolteacher. In 1914 UVA named a new residence hall after her and her husband in 2014, and her powerful words are engraved on the new (2020) Memorial to Enslaved Laborers (see the memorial below in this article). “Can we forget the crack of the whip, the cowhide, the whipping post, the auction block, the handcuffs, the spaniels, the iron collar, the negro-trader tearing the young child from its mother’s breast as a whelp from the lioness? Have we forgotten those horrible cruelties, hundreds of our race killed? No, we have not, nor ever will.”
Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue, Manhattan, New York - 2008. The statue, by sculptor Alison Saar, subtitled “Swing Low,” was dedicated on November 13, 2008. The back of the sculpture depicts stylized roots that are being pulled from the ground by Tubman’s resolute stride.
Four years before the start of the Civil War Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Portsmouth, Virginia, built in 1857, quickly became known as a safe haven on the Underground Railroad. Slaves were hidden in a crawl space beneath the pipe organ. A network of friends and informants in the city helped those escapees find passage or stow away on ships heading north.

Harriet Tubman was not the first to use the Underground Railroad. Before her, Florida had an Underground Railroad network of safe houses and anti-slavery activists stretching into Florida where slaves found freedom at Fort Mose, but many going north were returned to their slave masters as the Fugitive Slave Law did not end until 1864.

Fort Mose was the first free black settlement in what is now the United States. There, enslaved under Spanish rule, blacks had more rights than the race-based slavery that flourished in the southern English colonies. By 1738 there were 100 blacks, mostly runaways from the Carolinas, living at Fort Mose. Many were skilled workers, blacksmiths, carpenters, cattlemen, boatmen, and farmers.

Located just north of St. Augustine, Fort Mose played an important role in the development of colonial North America when in 1845 Florida was admitted to the union as the 27th US state.

The University of Virginia (UVA)
UVA was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 with students committing unchecked abuse against their slaves by nearly beating them to death for trivialities such as being slow to pick something up, and some of these slaves were the ones who had built UVA. Charlottesville slaves would not see relief until six decades later during the closing days of the Civil War. On March 3, 1865 Union Army troops, under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan, arrived in Charlottesville to free 14,000 slaves. They made up a majority of Charlottesville’s residents including hundreds of slaves that were owned by Thomas Jefferson in nearby Monticello. 

As late as the twentieth century Charlottesville citizens erected statutes of Confederate Robert E. Lee (1917) and Stonewall Jackson (1921).  As for slaves, about 1919 a small marker was set into the sidewalk in Court Square Park. The plaque was not to honor slaves, but only to note a historic place. As for a statue of Gen Sheridan, his was installed in 1908, not in Charlottesville, but in Washington D.C.’s Sheridan Circle.

Statue of Gen Sheridan, in Washington D.C.’s Sheridan Circle.

Virginia’s Sin of Slavery is Only Half the Story Without Understanding Its Aftermath

Battle of Fort Sumter
April 12, 1861. The American Civil War began when the Confederate Army fired on Fort Sumter. 
Operations of the Fugitive-Slave Law
In the beginning historians generally agree the war was about freeing the slaves. However, President Abraham Lincoln was still enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law, an indication he was not initially interested in freeing the slaves but instead preserving the Union. Right up to this day schools in the eleven former Confederate States have been teaching the Civil War was fought for states’ rights. But there is more to it that southern kids are never taught. The Civil War was fought for states’ rights to enslave African people. This is only one example of southern children being raised with little information about slavery, and if at all, the true facts are whitewashed.
Ref. "Fort Monroe, the Key to the South," 2000, pg 37, by John V. Quarstein, on page 37, made this assertion.
August 6, 1861. This all became clear when Congress formally nullified the Fugitive Slave Law as provoked by Major General Benjamin Butler’s decision to make slaves “chattel property.” As commander of U.S. Union forces at Fort Monroe he reasoned that slaves were being used to support the Confederate economy and war effort, and that he could take possession of whatever property the Union needed to turn a Southern asset into a Union benefit. When runaway slaves heard they could be “contraband” of war, more than ten thousand found asylum at Fort Monroe. Using these slave assets, in one assignment, Butler sent Willis A. Hodges to Cape Henry to keep the lighthouse operational for Union ships and guard it from Confederate attack.
The first Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1792. During the Civil War, to keep it operational for Union ships, Major General Benjamin Butler sent black troops from Fort Monroe to guard it from Confederate attack. Willis A. Hodges was the first of these contraband freedmen lighthouse keepers. He carried drums of whale oil up the slippery steps. Later during the reconstruction years (1865-1877) Hodges became an influential leader in Princess Anne County, being the county's first freeman elected representative.
Mary Smith Peake (1823 – 1862) & the Emancipation Oak
December 1863. During the time Major General Butler maintained control of Fort Monroe, contraband freedmen sought out Mary Peake to teach them and their children how to read and write. She held classes under a large oak tree. Not long after her death, her students and their parents gathered under the tree in December 1863 to hear the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln giving 3.5 million slaves their freedom. Ever since the tree has been known as the Emancipation Oak, located at today’s Hampton University and designated as one of the ten Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society. 

June 19, 1865: In an effort to keep slaves suppressed, the Emancipation Proclamation was not read at first in all Confederate States. Not until two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the war, did Texas get the news, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the proclamation January 1, 1863. On June 19, 1865 Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed on Galveston Island with more than 2,000 Union troops and read “General Order No. 3” which was printed in the Galveston’s newspaper the same day - “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” Even though the proclamation expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control, June 19, 1865 became celebrated as Juneteenth, freedom of slavery in America. On June 3, 1979 the first state to make Juneteenth an official state holiday was Texas’s black legislator, with Virginia becoming second on June 19, 2020 by executive order of Governor Ralph Northam.
Gen. Gordon Granger is shown on the above left, and on Galveston Island the marker describes the history surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation. Read the inscription @

April 14, 1876: The Freedmen’s Memorial in Washington D.C. famously exhibits a standing Abraham Lincoln giving freedom to a kneeling black man, whose chains are being broken. A huge parade involving nearly every black organization in the city preceded the dedication of the monument. The orator of the day, was Frederick Douglass. With blunt honesty, he announced that Lincoln “was not . . . either our man or our model.” He directly chastised Lincoln’s early advocacy to remove blacks from the country as a solution after emancipation. Then the tone and purpose of his speech shifted. Douglass brilliantly spoke to Lincoln’s actions as the birth of black equality and rights. On June 26, 2020 as monuments of the past Confederate era were being torn down, a few wanted the Freedmen’s Memorial also taken down, but others felt it could be an honorable start for an epic process to replace a landscape strewn with Confederate monuments, with monuments representing the story of black freedom from one generation to the next. So much new learning could take place.
Ref: “Don’t Tear Down the Freedmen’s Memorial,” June 26, 2016, the Washington Post, by David W. Blight.

(1861-1866) - After a four-year war costing the lives of as many as 850,000 (not counting slave causalities of which there were tens of thousands), on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee fought the last battle surrendering his Confederate troops to  Ulysses S. Grant, and 16 months later  Confederate President Andrew Johnson declared a formal end to the conflict in August 1866.
1866 - Texas. For the few monuments erected in Confederate States for Union soldiers who fought during the Civil War, the German-American Treue der Union Monument is an exception. It commemorates 34 German-Texans killed for refusing to sign loyalty oaths to the Confederacy.
Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, Washington D.C.
In the aftermath of the Civil War the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), founded in 1866, later becoming the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the first racially integrated social/fraternal advocacy group in America. They supported voting rights for black veterans, promoted patriotic education, helped to make Memorial Day a national holiday, set up GAR areas and markers in graveyards, and lobbied Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions. Its peak membership at 410,000 in 1890, was dissolved in 1956 after the death of its last member.

Ten months after the Civil War ended, an enslaved woman who had been ripped away from her children started looking for them. Elizabeth Williams, who had been sold twice since she last saw her children, placed a heart-wrenching ad in a newspaper: “INFORMATION WANTED by a mother concerning her children,” Williams wrote March 17, 1866, in the Christian Recorder newspaper in Philadelphia. Her ad was one of thousands taken out by formerly enslaved people looking for lost relatives after the Civil War. Those ads are now being digitized in a project called “Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery,” which is run by Villanova University’s graduate history program in collaboration with Philadelphia’s Mother Bethel AME Church.
Reconstruction of the South - Promise Betrayed
During the Civil War (1861-1865), on December 8, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, a plan to reunify the country. This was followed by a series of laws that opened up doors for freedmen; the 13th Amendment (1865) abolishing slavery, the Reconstruction Act (1867) providing office holding rights for freemen, the 14th Amendment (1868) granting equal civil rights, and the Civil Rights Act (1875) granting equal rights in public spaces such as on buses and in restaurants. Now freemen had a voice in government for the first time, winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S. Congress.   

A New Day: Recently liberated slaves, who had belonged to Thomas F. Drayton, pose in 1862 on the Magnolia Plantation in South Carolina.

 After Lincoln was assassinated April 15, 1865, with reunification plans falling to his successors, Presidents Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) and Ulysses S. Grant (1869 - 1877), white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South.

First to hit freedmen hard was land first given to them but then taken away. The most well-known was issued by Major General William Sherman January 16, 1865 promising thousands of freedmen 40-acres of land by "Special Field Order 15." In July 1866, all confiscated lands from whites were returned to their original owners by an act of Congress. Freemen could stay and work the land, but most left.
Ref: “A Promise Betrayed: Reconstruction Policies Prevented Freedmen from Realizing the American Dream,” by Rick Beard, an independent historian, author, and museum consultant, writes from Harrisburg, PA.

In 1883, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was unconstitutional and not authorized by the 13th or 14th Amendments of the Constitution, and in 1896, the Supreme Court further promulgated the “separate but equal doctrine” in Plessy v. Ferguson, thereby sanctioning a profusion of unabashedly discriminatory Jim Crow laws and effectively demolishing the foundations of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. However, freedmen were able to move freely, and six million fled the South while many stayed behind to experience mostly bad outcomes.

April 26, 2018 - The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. In the background columns hang down from the ceiling with the names of freemen hanged. 

The outcome of those who stayed behind was finally documented in 2018 with the opening of a six-acre site in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to the lynching of more than 4,000 freedmen between 1877 and 1950, according to the Equal Justice Iniative's "Lynching in America" project, in a decades-long campaign of racial terror in the eleven deep southern states. The memorial site provides a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terrorism and its legacy. In the building a metal plate reads: 


Virginia Beach's Seatack
A few of those who fled the south found their way to Virginia Beach’s Seatack. Seatack remained one exception to this time of racial terrorism in the south. Freedmen settled here because whites didn't see the future value of the swampy land. Freedmen not only moved in but also thrived in Seatack. They owned their own farms and built their own homes.  They were craftsmen, builders, farmers, fishermen, and hunters.  Whatever they needed, they built it with their own hands. Through hard work by Seatack citizens, life flourished. Despite being held back by white resistance, Seatack citizens continued to thrive. On October 15, 2011 the Seatack Civic League held their 200th Birthday Celebration, the first major African American community event ever held in Virginia Beach.

Setting the Example for a Better World

Bryan Stevenson started the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and initiated the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (see above). By August 2016, EJI had saved 125 men from the death penalty, mostly blacks living in former Confederate States where they have embraced discriminatory “Black Codes” leading to the imprisonment of unprecedented numbers of black men, women, and children, who were returned to slavery-like conditions through forced labor. Mass incarceration today stands as a legacy of past abuses and continues to limit opportunities in most black communities. The United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate; 2.3 million with 70 percent being non-white. The average black man has more than a 1 in 3 chance of being imprisoned at some point in his life. (The movie "Just Mercy" portrays Bryan Stevenson's real-life story.)
Peace Monument, Atlanta Georgia. In 1910, the Old Guard of the Atlanta Gate City Guard, erected a monument in Piedmont Park to commemorate the efforts made over a thirty-year period to bring about unity between the North and the South. The Old Guard has rededicated the monument each year since. The Atlanta History Center has placed exhibition panels near the Peace Monument and contextualized markers near confederate monuments after Georgia state law prohibited monument removal.

In Brunswick, Georgia a mural of Ahmaud Arbery is painted on a downtown building. The case has brought renewed criticism of a police department that, through one person’s efforts, the “I Run With Maud” movement has gone international. Jason Vaughn, a football coach and African American studies teacher at Brunswick High was a key figure in the push to investigate the death of his former football player Ahmaud, who was shot and killed after being chased by armed men while jogging in a local neighborhood in February 2019. After Ahmaud’s death, the investigation dragged on with no answers, and local leaders felt content to bury the episode. Emerging as a leading advocate for justice, Vaughn pushed for resolution challenging a town leadership that failed Arbery. Despite people telling Vaughn “to stop stirring trouble,” he nevertheless forged ahead garnering local support and media attention until the people involved in Arbery’s murder were arrested and charged.

Bishop Barnett Karl Thoroughgood (1949 – 2012)  is a shining example of an accomplished Seatack citizen and the many generations of freed Thoroughgood slaves. Reverend Barnett Thoroughgood, founder of the New Jerusalem Church of God in Seatack, was loved and respected. His February 10, 2012 funeral was attended by over 4,000.  


Milton Thoroughgood Selden
Despite “massive resistance,” a few prospered. Born in Norfolk, Theodore Milton Thoroughgood Selden (1898 - 1922) was an exceptional young man at a time when freedmen students were practically unheard of in any law school, much less one of the country's oldest and most selective. He was one of eight children born to William Henry and Georgie Anna Thoroughgood Selden.  Milton was not only intelligent, but a groundbreaker, one of the few freedmen of his era to receive education beyond high school. He enrolled at Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania, graduating at the top of his class in 1919. He then transferred to Dartmouth, where he was elected into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society. Graduating No. 2 in 1921, Milton entered Penn Law School but did not finish when he was killed in a train accident working as a porter to pay for his schooling. Milton's mother, George Anna Thoroughgood traces her genealogy back to two slaves, Mary and Frank, freed in 1853 by Mary Woodhouse and Frank Thoroughgood to become the first freed Thoroughgood’s. Mary and Frank were married in Princess Anne County by a Rev. John Buskin.  

I Do Believe We Shall Overcome - Some Day


1866: The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an extremist hate group, during Reconstruction, was founded in the spring of 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee with the aim of making the black man’s fate worse than when he was a slave. They led the South in a campaign of torture, lynchings, and church burnings.


August 1925: as many as fifty-thousand KKK staged a massive demonstration in Washington D.C.
November 25, 1915: the rebirth of the KKK was led by William J. Simmons, a circuit-riding minister, when he gathered a group in front of a burning cross. The new Klansmen hated blacks, Roman Catholics, and Jews alike, and for the next ten years they added to their list protection against inferior blood, more law enforcement, national patriotism, and power to the uneducated white worker. By 1925 the Klan membership had swelled to as many as six million.  As the roaring twenties progressed, fewer people aligned with the Klan’s doctrine, but even after its original founding in 1866, the KKK is still an active, domestic terrorist organization (see article below - August 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia).
1920 - The 19th Amendment Granted Women the Right to Vote
Mary Ann Shadd Cary was the first African American woman to get a law degree in the United States. She joined the growing women’s voting rights movement and with other women attempted to vote in 1871, but was rejected by the Supreme Court based on the inferior intelligence of women.
Sarah Parker Remond became involved in women’s rights while studying in Britain. She is the only black woman to sign the 1866 petition for women’s voting rights, along with some of the period's foremost white female advocates for suffrage.
Mary Eliza Church Terrell was a well-known African American activist who championed racial equality and women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th century. Her words, “Lifting as we climb,” became the motto of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), the group she helped found in 1896, and she served as president from 1896 to 1901.
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, born a slave, was an early leader in the civil rights movement, and one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She helped organize the Chicago Alpha Suffrage Club in 1913 as a way to further voting rights for all women.
Women of color worked hard for voting rights throughout the nineteenth century and on into the twentieth century, even after the August 26, 1920 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. In reality, the 19th Amendment was only for white women because of widespread enduring inequality and racism from within the ranks of the women's suffrage movement. It wasn't until the Voting Rights Act was passed nearly a half century later, on August 6, 1965 that black women were allowed their right to vote.
A man holds up a poster of Stacey Abrams at a rally for Joe Biden on Jan 4, 2020

On Jan 6, 2020 Raphael Warnock, a black minister, won a Georgia seat in the U.S. Senate, completing a 150-year turnaround from the Reconstruction years (1865-1877) in Georgia. One of a number of appalling events that occurred when in 1868 Henry McNeal Turner, a black clergyman, the first African American chaplain in the Union Army, won a seat on the Georgia state legislature. Later that year, a white mob killed Turner along with 27 other black men, also clergy in the state legislature. This was part of violent deeds that started the state down the road to a horrible period of torture and lynching’s.

Warnock’s victory can be partially credited to Stacey Abrams, a black woman who lost her bid for the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election which had been marked by accusations of voter suppression. She went on to found Fair Fight Action to address voter suppression. Abrams tireless organizing efforts have been widely credited with boosting turnout and making possible the election of the first black man in Georgia to the U.S. Congress. In response, a huge outpouring posted congratulations - “Black women saved our republic,” “Stacey Abrams is a hero,” and “THANK YOU BLACK WOMEN.”


1921 - Tulsa, Oklahoma was the site of one of the most vicious acts of racial violence in U.S. history. An angry white mob attacked homes and businesses in a thriving community known as “Black Wall Street,” killing some 300 people and leaving thousands homeless. White resentment exploded into two days of epic terror, wiping the most prosperous black communities off the map, and for years afterwards there was a concerted effort to erase that history from news archives and history books. Only recently Tulsa has tried to confront those days of terror by examining its lingering impact by belatedly addressing the racial bitterness toward black financial success that led white people to burn a prosperous Oklahoma community to the ground. White violence against black aspiration occurred elsewhere: Rosewood, Fla., in 1923; Springfield, Ill., in 1908; and Elaine, Ark., in 1919. It happened after both world wars to returning black servicemen, whose military rank and training conflicted with America’s subordinate station for black men. Even today some white people feel discomfort when black people are perceived to have risen “above their station,” like a black President of the United States. Reference: “The Diabolical Irony of Trump’s Decision to Speak in Tulsa,” the Washington Post, June 14, 2020 by Michele L. Norris.
1937. CCC workers at Cape Henry, Princess Anne County (Today Virginia Beach), drained marshes, built cabins, planted trees and shrubs and constructed more 20 miles of trails during the creation of First Landing State Park -- then known as Seashore State Park. Although African-American workers built the park, they were not allowed to use it. In 1951, a group of local African Americans filed suit against the Virginia Conservation Commission for being denied entrance to the park. In 1955, state officials chose to close the park rather than integrate it. The park reopened in 1965 to the public, regardless of skin color.
1938 - Building Botanical Gardens, Virginia Beach. The plaque reads, “For the 220 WPA workers, this memorial serves to honor and remember the legacy of beauty they created for the enjoyment of generations to come.
Under a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant, 200 African-American women and 20 men cleared a 75 acre site for today’s Botanical Gardens. Laboring from dawn until dusk, they worked in harsh conditions, long hours during all four seasons, regardless of the blistering heat, humidity, rain, finger-numbing cold, snow or frigid temperatures. Although the pay in no way compensated their hard work, it was a means of putting food on the table, which would not have been possible otherwise. It would be another 27 years, until the end of Jim Crow segregation laws, before they could visit the garden they made.
October 7, 1948: Strom Thurmond (1902 – 2003) a South Carolina U.S. Senator addressed a large crowd inside UVA’s Cabell Hall. In a bitter rant against President Harry Truman’s civil rights program to ban lynching and protection against racial discrimination, Thurmond thundered that Truman’s legislation would “undermine the American way of life.” He warned that he and his fellow Dixiecrats offered “the only genuine obstacle to the rise of socialism or communism in America.” He was repeatedly interrupted by applause and standing ovations. Thurmond’s extremist views began making their way through southern cities connecting civil rights to a Red Communist plot against America with blacks being used as pawns to advance this ideology. Nearly seventy years later in 2017, only a few feet away from where Thurmond had issued his hate-filled speech, hundreds of Klansmen and other far-right extremists carried on with Thurmond's divisive rhetoric at the "Unite the Right" rally. This time there was pushback from crowds that had had enough of speech designed to tear the nation apart and degrade blacks (see article below - August 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia, Unite the Right rally).

1954 - Linda Brown sits beside her mother after the
landmark Supreme Court segregation ban.
In 1950 a black third-grader in Topeka, Kansas, named Linda Brown had to walk one mile through a railroad switchyard to get to her “black” elementary school, even though a “white” elementary school was only seven blocks away. Linda's father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her in the white elementary school, but the principal refused her entry. Oliver  sued, and the case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court. In 1954 they ruled in Linda’s favor (1954 Brown v. Board of Education).
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Topeka, Kansas, commemorates the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education decision to end racial segregation in public schools. 

Protesting Integration of Public Schools
Senator Harry F. Byrd declared that massive resistance would be the best course to take in dealing with school desegregation, and in  less than two years, Virginia mounted a campaign of “massive resistance” enacting laws designed to block integration and defy the Supreme Court’s decision. Virginia  Schools were told they would lose state funding if they integrated, which resulted in school closings in Warren County, Charlottesville, Norfolk, and Prince Edward County. On January 19, 1959 a district court declared school closings void. This set the stage for “white flight” out of Virginia cities that had large black populations. “Bussing” became the next step by the courts to end school racial imbalance, a system that brought black students into white schools. Virginia led the way to end busing when the Supreme Court in 1974 limited busing in Richmond, and in 1986 when Norfolk became the first city in the country to end busing. 
The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, Richmond State Capital Grounds, commemorates the fight to end massive resistance after the 1954 Supreme Court order banning school segregation.

June 11, 1963: At the University of Alabama Governor George Wallace, in a symbolic attempt to keep his inaugural promise of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" stood at the school door to block the entry of two African American students. Federal officers compelled Wallace to stand aside. On that evening President Kennedy spoke to the nation. “Discrimination exists in every city, every State of the Union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety. We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear of the American Constitution. If an American because his skin is dark, ….cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place?" *Another sculpture shows a young marcher being grabbed by a police officer while his police dog aggressively lunges forward.
*Another sculpture shows four girls sitting and standing around a bench. They were killed in a nearby Baptist Church bombing.
*Another sculpture has two metal walls, one on either side of the path, with metal dogs leaping out into the space occupied by the path.
*Another sculpture shows two children bracing themselves against a wall while two water cannons stand a few feet from the main sculpture, aimed at them.

July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act. Legislation had been proposed by President John Kennedy in June 1963, before he was assassinated. President Lyndon Johnson carried on pushing the legislation  through Congress to become law on July 2, 1964. It prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal.

August 6, 1965 - President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Martin Luther King is seen here shaking hands with the President.
The Voting Rights Act was another milestone for black rights which finally gave all people of color the right to vote. In his address before a Joint Session of Congress, Johnson said, "Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues, issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression. But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation."

Nevertheless, a later Supreme Court decision weakened the  enforcement of the voting rights act. Further, black communities continued to face changes and reduction of voter locations, denial of early voting, purges of voter rolls, stricter voter ID laws, and worst of all, gerrymandering to maintain affluent community districts that could afford to spend more, exacerbating inequities among schools.
1963 – 1968. These laws pushed through Congress by President Johnson were the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. Southerners became frantic. They had lost the Civil War, and now one of their own, Lyndon Johnson, carried on Kennedy’ civil rights proposed legislation. He was asking them to suffer another defeat, the loss of a way of life in which whites were supreme. Racial hatred boiled over to the point that American leaders of the civil rights movement were picked off, one at a time.
The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial in front of the New York State Supreme Court, Brooklyn Columbus Park was dedicated November 2, 1971. His quotes include this.. “Each time a man strikes out against injustice, or acts to improve the lots of others, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

When Virginia Beach was founded in 1963 from Princess Anne County, segregation was still mainly in place and blacks were still denied the right to eat at lunch counters or spend nights at hotels on the oceanfront. Few black families wanted their children taunted for crossing "color lines." They saw their all black Sea View Beach and Amusement Park close (where Seagate Colony condominiums stands today on Cape Henry Beach), but they still could not attend ocean front beaches. 
Virginians Begin to Learn About Their 
 "Unhealed History"
"Richmond's Unhealed History," by Benjamin Campbell, 2012. Campbell tells about Richmond's past "original sin," and a way forward to heal the nation's wounds.
Only recently have Virginians begun to confront long-ignored truths about those enslaved and their struggles after their freedom right up to today. After the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally and the 2020 killing of George Floyd, people started showing up to demand institutional change in the way communities and government purposely or unknowingly are giving black people an uneven hand. 
Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at W&M
In 2007 students at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg began pushing for a memorial to acknowledgment its history of at least 180 enslaved African Americans who built the university. Expected to be completed in October 2021, the memorial is titled “Hearth” resembling a large brick fireplace with names of slaves to be etched on its wall. William Sendor, a 2011 school graduate, said he created his hearth design because it brought people together and because he was inspired “to figuratively illuminate the forgotten history and memory of these enslaved people who sacrificed and contributed immeasurably to William & Mary for over half of the College’s history, and then to physically illuminate a shared space for community gathering and reflection for generations to come.

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA
Not only in Williamsburg, but at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, there has been a great awakening. The memorial is part of a larger, ongoing process at UVA spearheaded by the President's Commission on Slavery and the University that started in 2013. Completed in early 2020, the memorial responded to a deep need to address an untold and uncomfortable history of those African Americans who built the University. The memorial creates a space to gather, reflect, and acknowledge the names of 900 slaves engraved on the inside of the ring, with space for the remainder.  
June 2013, Richmond, Virginia. Local citizens, on the twentieth anniversary of “Unity Walk,” paraded through the heart of Richmond’s economic district on the historic slave trail where more than 300,000 Africans slaves were held in Lumpkin’s Jail waiting to be traded. They were tortured, torn apart from their families and sold like property. The final stop of the walk concluded at the Reconciliation Statue. There walkers were encouraged to think through inherited inequities of today’s black race and practice ways to create personal and social transformation, racially just, and healthy and inclusive communities.  A cascading fountain on the plaza carries this inscription:
Liverpool, England; the Benin Region of West Africa; and Richmond, Virginia: During the 18th Century, these three places reflected on of the well-known triangles in the trade of enslaved Africans. Men, women and children were captured in West and Central Africa and transported from Benin and other countries. They were chained, herded, loaded on ships built in England and transported through the unspeakable horrors of the Middle Passage. They were imported and exported in Richmond, Virginia and sold in other American cities. Their forced labor laid the economic foundation of this nation.

August 2017, Charlottesville, VirginiaThe violent “Unite the Right” rally was a clarion call for people to stand up to these white supremacists who were openly exhibiting hatred against blacks.
Hundreds of far-right extremists descended on the city ostensibly to protest the removal of a Confederate statue from a local park. Dubbed “Unite the Right,” the gathering was the largest and most violent public assembly in decades of white supremacists, KKK, skin heads and other radical groups. James Alex Fields, Jr. of Ohio received two life sentences plus 419 years for deliberately driving his car into a crowd of protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more.  Unite the Right advocates have since demonstrated a resurgent of their cause despite the fact that many who participated at Charlottesville have lost their jobs and been rejected by friends and family, imprisoned, and hit with travel bans.
July 2019 - Dr. Marcus Martin, UVA’s Vice President for Diversity and Equity, addresses the audience during the inaugural observance of Liberation and Freedom Day. By a unanimous vote on July 1, 2019, the Charlottesville City Council established a new city holiday, Liberation and Freedom Day, to be celebrated on March 3 each year, the day General Sheridan liberated 14,000 slaves. 

Virginia was America’s wealthiest and most populous state until the Civil War, and after the war Virginia lost its influence largely because it took on a role of leadership by encouraging the former Confederate States to make black lives worse than slavery by initiated a campaign of racial terror - torture, lynching, incarceration, and church burning.
*Between 1785-1985 Black Codes were used to keep blacks incarcerated for even trivial charges. As many as 200,000 blacks were forced into back-breaking labor in coal mines and lumber camps. They lived in squalid conditions, chained, starved, beaten, flogged and sexually violated. They died by the thousands from injury, disease and torture.
*Between 1877 and 1950, more than 4,400 blacks were tortured and then hanged, including 71 blacks in Virginia, but that Virginia proportionately small number belies the fact that, except for Texas, Virginia had executed more people than any state with the huge preponderance being black.
*Between 1921 and 1996 there have been forth-five attacks, three in Virginia, against black churches in the form of arson, bombings, mass murder, hate crimes, and white supremacist-propelled domestic terrorism.
*Still, America is not out of the woods because of various restrictions on blacks. The most devastating of all is the criminal justice system. As late as 2010, the rate of incarcerations in Virginia was 6 blacks for each white, leaving a legacy of black felons existing under the weight of various forms of discrimination in housing and voting.

But, especially in Virginia, things are changing under the leadership of Governor Ralph Northam (Jan 2018 to Jan 2022 - the Virginia term limit). He has become a champion, leading Virginia to an awakening of its "original sin" by repudiating racism. His example is helping to bring the Virginia economy and citizen pride back from its 160-year-long nightmare of racial wrong, which is also setting the example for the other former Confederate states.
*On June 4, 2019, Governor Northam issued an executive order setting up a commission to examine Jim Crow area legislation still remaining on the books.
*In 2020 Governor Northam championed the abolishment of the death penalty which is now a law.
*On August 24, 2020 Governor Northam signed an executive order establishing the Commission on African American History Education. In their final report he said, “The Commission’s recommendations will ensure that Virginia’s history standards reflect the complexity of our past, help students understand how present-day challenges are connected to this history, and provide teachers with more resources to engage in anti-racist work. This is important because the more our students know, the more our students can do to help build a better future for our Commonwealth and our country.
January 2, 2019 -Representatives John Conyers and Shelia Jackson Lee introduce H.R.40 to establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans (blacks). The commission is charged with examining slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommending appropriate remedies.

March 6, 2020 - Newport News. the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Episcopal Church Center sponsored a two day “Walking Toward Truth Pilgrimage,” commemorating the 1619 arrival of the first enslaved Africans. The pilgrimage was an important step in the church’s ongoing journey toward racial healing, reconciliation, and justice. People were asked to learn about past wrongs of the church’s role in slavery and later segregation, a history the church allowed to be all but forgotten until recently. No Episcopal parish has been a witness to a longer span of American history than St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Hampton. Most black Episcopalians worshiped at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church founded in 1905 because St. John’s didn’t welcome blacks. More than a century later, St. John’s opened its doors to worshippers of all races and backgrounds. Telling about the church’s past is a critical component of the “Truth” initiative.
May 25, 2020, Minneapolis - By a policeman kneeing on George Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes while unarmed and crying for his mother and saying he could not breathe, he became unresponsive in the last two minutes. The killing sparked continuous days of protests, but unlike past protests this one resulted in a "perfect storm," a particularly slow and gruesome murder of a black man completely unarmed and incapacitated as he pleaded for help with no split-second decision from a policeman fearing for his life, all recorded on cameras by onlookers.
Governor of Texas Greg Abbott said after reviewing the picture of George Floyd being killed, "This is the most horrific tragedy I've ever personally observed, but George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States" He went on to promise to pursue policing reforms in Texas. He was not alone as all over the country, legislatures rushed to reinvent their police force.  
Then – March 7, 1965. Led by John Lewis six hundred nonviolent protesters marched toward Selma, Alabama. They were stopped by Alabama State troopers and local police who shot tear gas and proceeded wading into the crowd beating them, ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.
Now - June 1, 2020. Of the many thousands of marches after the murder of George Floyd, the one that caught the most attention was one in front of the White House. In order to breakup hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square in front of the White House, police and federal officers wearing riot gear, some on horseback, shoved back protesters with shields and fired pepper balls, chemical grenades and smoke bombs at retreating crowds while beating them with clubs, ultimately injuring a number, even some trying to flee. The clearing of Lafayette Square where peaceful protesters usually gather was a half-hour before the announced citywide 7 p.m. curfew and was not preceded by warnings to clear the area nor avenues for them to disperse peacefully. The late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) spoke later about this peaceful demonstration in Lafayette Square in front of the Whitehouse. “It’s been hard and difficult for me. I’ve cried, I’ve prayed, I really thought that we were much farther down that road to redeeming the soul of America. We are not there yet.
Designed by artist Sean Schwab, the sixty-five-foot high John Lewis mural towers over the corner of Auburn Avenue and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district. On August 24, 2012, John Lewis spoke at the mural dedication, and on Saturday, July 18, 2020, the day after Lewis died, mourners flocked to the mural to honor a “true hero” paying their respects to the man and his legacy who sought to convert racial discrimination into black-white amity, the oneness of humankind.
Then - August 28, 1963 - Washington D.C. The “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” was capped off by Martin Luther King Jr. Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech to 250,000 people, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history. The march was credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Now - June 4, 2020 - Washington D.C. Fifty-seven years later as rallies for human rights continued in hundreds of cities worldwide over the killing of George Floyd, some in Washington D.C. paid a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Organized by teenagers who founded the group "Faces of the Future," they listened to King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech and wept that his dream was not yet fulfilled. King's speech ended with ….When we allow freedom to ring from every city and every hamlet, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, we are free at last.’
Protests continued as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched in 140 cities across the country and in dozens of cities in other countries, all marching to show solidarity over the killing of George Floyd and racial injustice.
Black Lives Matter Plaza NW

June 5, 2020 - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had city workers block off a two-block section of 16th Street NW, located just outside of the White House, for the painting of a mural featuring the words “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) in 35-foot-tall yellow letters, all in Caps. This portion of 16th Street was officially renamed by the mayor, “Black Lives Matter Plaza NW.”
June 11, 2020 - Richmond. Protesters pulled down the 1907 statue of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, positioned in front of the "Monument to the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865," one of a number of monuments removed or damaged in the wake of George Floyd protests.

Rita Davis, legal counsel to Virginia Gov. Northam, speaks during a news briefing.
June 9, 2020: Governor Northam told the world that the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond would come down. But then lawsuits hit which the governor pledged to fight. He asked Davis, the great-great-granddaughter of enslaved people, to explain his position at a news briefing. Her voice broke with emotion as she said that the statue was designed to “minimize a devastating evil” and that removing it “takes us a step closer to reclaiming the truth of Virginia’s history ... for all Virginians. I want this statue to come down, but I want it to come down because there is a consensus in Virginia saying that that’s not who we are anymore.”
Ref: “Behind Northam’s Statue Push: A Descendant of Slaves,” the Washington Post June 26, 2020, by Gregory S. Schneider

August 2, 2020 - In the article on the Virginian Pilot front page (Discussions about Racism) Rev. Bob Randall, Rector of Old Donation Episcopal Church, said, “Knowing the truth, the good, the bad and the ugly, helps us start to repair the breach in our world and chart a Godly path of action for our parish.”

April 19, 2021, the Greensboro, N.C. Civil Rights Museum. As the first woman of color to hold a nationally elected office, Vice President Kamala Harris sat in the same spot at a lunch counter where Rosa Parks sat on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks refused to move, setting off a one-year bus boycott and “sit-in” crusade.
After her visit, Harris told the nation, “America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans, and Black men in particular, have been treated through the course of our history as less than human. Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors.

America takes two steps forward and then one step back. George Floyd’s death inspired a wave of soul-searching about the roles that race and racism still play in American life, but in less than a year after Floyd's death, critical race theory (CRT) emerged among conservatives as a pushback against “Black Lives Matter.” CRT, a psychological defense for the ones in power, cited as Un-American, opening up the history of enslaved people from the 1619 Project to K-12 curriculums. BLM people have tried to push back, but CRT is an emotional defense against change, and not one based on fact.
Ref: “Why Conservatives Really Fear Critical Race Theory,” by Christine Emba, the Washington Post, May 27, 2021

If we ignore past history, as some suggest, we harm our country as a free and open society.
The following example, more than any other argument, shows why our rich history cannot be hidden. In 2020 Ed Allison, a teacher at Granby High School in Norfolk, received approval from Virginia to make changes to the social studies curriculum by allowing his students to make a field trip to Fort Monroe to find out about the “1619 Project,” which allowed his students to share what they had learned at the UN’s 12th Annual Global Student Conference. Their project, “Ending Slavery’s Legacy of Racism: A Global Imperative for Justice,” was developed by his students working with Fort Monroe archivists centered around 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the American colonies arriving at Fort Monroe.
The UN program had about 500 students from 30 different countries in attendance. This was the first time Allison’s students had interacted with students from other countries who presented their local histories. It gave Allison’s students a chance to present a rich factual history they had worked hard to research.
One of Allison’s students, junior Aren De La Ross, made a video focused on the arrival of the first Africans at Fort Monroe. The video was featured on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website. La Ross said, “I feel like one of the biggest things I learned from the project is that there can be a lot of history that’s hidden. I know a lot of people who have been to Fort Monroe, including myself, who just had no idea about the rich history hidden in the port.” Allison’s project couldn’t have provided a stronger justification for his students to learn historical facts, examine various perspectives and draw their own conclusions. Allison added, “I think it’s where education needs to go. We’re working with the community, we’re working with Museums, we’re working with the national parks, we’re working with UNESCO. To me it’s really refreshing, as an educator for 20 plus years, to be able to be part of this and create this in my course curriculum.”
Germany is an example of why it is important to learn about history. It started in the 1960s when Germany began looking at its Nazi past as a central feature of its cultural landscape to embrace the tenet “never forget” the past horrors of the Holocaust and the rise of Nazism. Children learn through their teachers and textbooks that the Nazi reign was a horrible and shameful chapter in the nation’s past. They call it Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung (working off the past). Learning about our own past mistakes presents a better path forward for the future.

*“Queen Latifah's Roots tracing to Princess Anne County,”
*"The Life Cycle of the Adam Keeling House, Virginia Beach Virginia," 2006 by Kristen Olson, Cornell University
*“The First Black American, a Group of Enslaved Africans Changed Jamestown and the Future of a Nation,” by  Tim Hashaw .
Re-printed in the U.S. News & World Report, January 29, 2007.
(some of the below article is shortened and clarified) \/
In 1619, the two English privateer ships, the Treasurer and White Lion, were sailing between Cuba and the Yucatán Peninsula when they sighted a slow-moving Spanish frigate named the San Juan Bautista. Hoping the frigate carried gold and silver, the White Lion and the Treasurer gave chase, trapping the Spanish ship in the Bay of Campeche. After hours of cannon fire, the Spanish captain surrendered. Upon boarding they discovered that instead of treasure, they had won a cargo of enslaved Africans being shipped from Luanda, Angola, to Vera Cruz, Mexico.  The Africans, 350 men, women, and children, had been captured four months earlier.  The White Lion and the Treasurer sailed for the new English colony of Jamestown, a struggling settlement in dire need of manpower. The ships arrived in the Chesapeake at the end of August. Of the Bautista's captives, 32 (17 females and 15 males) were purchased by Jamestown settlers. From Jamestown, both privateer ships sailed for Bermuda, where they traded their remaining Bautista captives. Over the next four years, a half dozen of these Africans were sent back to Jamestown. Names of Bautista Africans first appear in the 1625 Jamestown census. Among those the names were John Pedro, Antonio and Maria Johnson, John Graweere, and Margaret Cornish. In the beginning, the first group of Africans was split up and sent to tobacco plantations along the James River. They were put to work mostly planting and harvesting tobacco, but they also raised cattle and acted as traders, selling produce to Indians and to European ships arriving in Jamestown.  During the next two decades, some were permitted to raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. Their skill at cattle raising, enabled them to earn extra money for their services to other farmers. They married, sometimes to their fellow Africans and sometimes to English settlers, and they raised families. By the 1640s and 1650s, a handful of families from the Bautista bought their own farms around Jamestown.  Some of the Bautista captives in Virginia even acquired white servants to raise their tobacco in the 1650s. A few, like the Johnson family, became wealthy by colonial standards, even though others of their compatriots remained enslaved. Jamestown became the cradle of two African Americas, one free and one slave. In time, John Graweere became a respected officer of the Jamestown court. Margaret Cornish charmed the son of a Jamestown legislator. John Pedro became a member of the militia. In 1691, Jamestown outlawed freeing slaves unless the slaveholder transported them out of the colony. In 1705, the legislature refused to let slaves raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. Free African-Americans who were descendants of the first founders from the Bautista were stripped of many of their rights. In less than one century, the promising dawn had faded from memory, and the long night of slavery had begun.
*Richmond’s Unhealed History, by Benjamin Campbell,2012, page 66. In Aug 1619 a Dutch warship had arrived in Jamestown with “not any thing but 20 odd Negroes, which the governor and Cape Merchant bought for victuals the best and easiest rate they could.” [from John Rolfe, “Letter to the Virginia Company”] Scholars now think that the Dutch ship, the White Lion, and an English ship, the Treasurer, had both pirated the Africans from a Portuguese slave ship, the San Juan Bautista.
*"Our Heritage: Black History: Princess Anne County, Virginia Beach, Virginia: A Pictorial History" by Edna Hawkins-Hendrix
-Late August of 1619, the first blacks arrived in the Virginia. They arrived at a time when there were no laws pertaining to slavery in the colony as we know it today. Somewhere in the vicinity of Old Point or at Jamestown, Virginia, a ship landed carrying twenty or so blacks chained together. At that point the blacks took their place alongside white indentured servants. As time passed, other blacks arrived in Jamestown. Anthony arrived in 1621, Mary 1622, John Pedro 1623, and Bess 1625, all under different circumstances. On February 16, 1623, a census was taken in the colony. Blacks included Anthony, William, John, Anthony, Angelo, John, Edward, Peter, Anthony, Frances, Margaret, Anthony and Isabella.
-Due to serious labor difficulties in the colonies, the settlers attempted to utilize the Indians as a labor force but were unsuccessful. Many Indians knew the territory so well they easily escaped. Other Indians could not adjust to this new life, they became sick and died. Black men and women were in a strange land; some were just happy to put foot on land again. They seemed to adjust because they had no choice. Suddenly their hands and muscles worked along with the whites side by side. In most instances they worked even harder or better than their white counterparts.
-The first black child born in Virginia was William Tucker, son of Anthony and Isabella. They named their son after William Tucker, the man they were assigned to after their arrival in 1619. The exact date of the child's birth is not known. This child also became the first to be baptized in America about 1624. There were few American born blacks in the first twenty years because the importation of blacks declined. Another Anthony, who was one of the best-known early blacks, arrived in the colony around 1621. Within one or two years Anthony Johnson completed his indenture ship. A short time later he then married Mary, who came to the colony in 1622. By 1651, Anthony was able to import five black servants into the colony, on whose headrights he was granted 250 acres of land in what is now Northampton County. Numerous other blacks from that community began to accumulate property after they served their term of indenture ship. The Africans Johnson imported from Barbados, some of them could read and knew something of the law and their rights as individuals. In 1654 Richard Johnson, a servant imported by Anthony Johnson, was able to import two white servants of his own whose headrights he received 100 acres of land. Johnson another black, imported eleven persons and received on their headrights 550 acres of land adjoining Richard Johnson's plantation. Still other blacks, like Benjamin Dole, were granted 300 acres of land in Surry County for his importation of six persons. John Harris of New Kent County purchased 50 acres of land in 1688. Phillip Morgan leased 200 acres of land in York County for 99 years.
-During the first forty years blacks, acquired land, built their own homes, testified in court, voted, worked and lived among white settlers on an equal bases, once their indenture ships expired. Life start to change with a serious of Slave Laws passed and "slave codes" enacted that defined their legal position in detail and placed severe restrictions on the movements and conduct of the blacks.
1640 - All masters of families were required to furnish arms both offensive and defensive to protect their families except Blacks.
1670 - All servants not being Christian brought in by sea to be slaves for life.
-Under these laws and codes, new Black arrivals became nothing more than "chattel” property, to be beaten, inherited, and bequeathed like houses, animals or even tools. Others tried to escape and one master whipped all his slaves because one slave run away. They endured missing the freedom of their own homeland, a lifetime of hard labor, the lash of the whip, no control of their own destiny, families separated never to be seen again, nothing to look forward to, and a death better than slavery.
-Bishop Richard Allen (1760 - 1831) founder and First Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1787, wrote, “We were stolen from our mother country, and brought here. We have tilled the ground and made fortunes for thousands ... This land which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country.
-Hannah Nimmo was a slave on the Nimmo Plantation. Hannah was born in 1831. She served as nurse maid to the Nimmo children. At an early age, she became a member of Nimmo M.E. Church South.  When her master attended church Hannah sat in the slave balcony of Nimmo M.E. Church South.
-Ned Keeling was born a slave in Princess Anne County about 1770 and became a free man in 1815. He belonged to a man of such heavy indebtedness that upon the occasion of the master's death, Ned stood in grave danger of being sold South at public auction to slave traders in satisfaction of the claims of creditors. Such was one of the many vices of slavery wherein innocent Negroes stood as lawful property in the satisfaction of the debts of a defunct slave owner. In this instance the owner (Keeling) was left in such straits that Ned actually supported his owners’ family for a time. Catherine Collette, a white woman bought Ned in 1813, not that she needed his services, but in order to save him from the slave traders, who at all times infested Norfolk. Two years later Ned paid back her purchase price for him and thus became a candidate for emancipation. He was awarded it by Catherine. After five years Ned had secured the means to buy the members of his family and extend them freedom. Ned’s wife Amy, and two children, named Peggy and William, were purchased from John Shepard who set them free. Ned in 1818 became a drayman (a person who delivers beer for a brewery). By 1830, Ned held property valued at $1,000.00. He pursued this business until his death in 1846.
-Between 1830 and 1835 Virginia at large was heavily engages in selling surplus slaves for the southern market. This continual drain left Norfolk without a sufficient number of drayman from the slave class so that the remaining emancipated Negroes who occupied and monopolized this business did well. 
*William Tucker, the first Black child born (recorded) in the American colonies, was baptized on January 3, 1624, in Jamestown, Virginia. Two of the first Africans to be brought to North America in 1619 were simply called Anthony and Isabella they were married and in 1624 gave birth to the first Black child born in English America naming him William Tucker in honor of a Virginia Planter. Before that, in 1606, the first recorded birth of an African child in the continental United States was in the Cathedral Parish Archives in St. Augustine, Florida. “People, Locations, Episodes,” the African American Registry (AAREG)
*“Angela, brought to Virginia 1619,” the Jamestown Chronicles In August 1619, a privateer vessel, White Lion, landed in Virginia at Point Comfort, present day Hampton, with a cargo of more than 20 Africans. While raiding in the Caribbean the White Lion, along with privateers from another ship, Treasurer, had seized part of a cargo of Africans from a Portuguese slave ship named Sao Jao Bautista bound from the African city of Luanda to Veracruz, Mexico. A short time after the White Lion stopped at Point Comfort, the Treasurer arrived carrying more Africans. The status of the Africans in Virginia is uncertain, but some were “bought” by Governor Yeardley and Abraham Peirsey — meaning they were either slaves or indentured servants. Few records exist to shed light on the lives of the first Africans in Virginia — either before or after their arrival; however, there is some historical information about one of them - a young woman called “Angela” who came on the Treasurer in 1619. The Muster Roll of 1625 reveals that Angela was still in Virginia — a servant in the household of Captain William Peirce. By the 1650s there were free people of color in the colony, but most did not do as well economically as free white Virginians. Although legal discrimination was evident by the late 17th century, Africans, such as Anthony Johnson, did prosper in Virginia. He owned land in Northampton County, had one servant, and owned one slave.
* “Virginia, the Old Dominion,” by Matthew Anderson, 1937, pages 88-89
Below is a reprint of the above underlined sentences. /\
(page 88>) The last of this month of August 1619. Negroes were sold to the colonies as slaves. According to available records, these Negroes may not with certainty be called slaves, for there is no proof that their persons were held as property or on terms any different from those of white laborers whose services were engaged under public or private ownership for varying lengths of time. On the contrary, the evidence clearly pints to customary indenture, for Virginia archives show that throughout the second quarter of the seventeenth century Negroes were being rereleased at the end of their periods of indenture. Because of this fresh information concerning the status of (page 89>) these first Negroes, the story of what actually happened calls for some elaboration. Since John Smith’s narrative contains a report ascribed to John Rolfe that “about the last of August [1619] came a dutch man of warre that sold us twenty Negars,” it was assumed that the traders were Dutch and that the word “sold” meant servitude for life. Examination of Virginia records shows that not only did the verb sell refer to indentured servants, but that the noun slavery was used to indicate indenture for periods of time varying from one to seven years or eight years.
Note: In the case of Adam Thoroughgood (1604-1640), as the youngest son of seven, he had no prospect of receiving a dowry. To find his fortune, in 1621 young 18-year-old Adam set out for Virginia as an indenture aboard Captain Edward Waters' ship the Charles. After working off a three-year indenture, he returned to London where he began carrying out an ambitious plan of sponsoring immigrants to Virginia in exchange for land under the same terms that he had accepted when he first came to Virginia (Kecoughtan - today's Hampton). Needing money, he found and married 19-year-old Sarah Offley on July 18, 1627, the daughter of a financially successful mercantile family. In 1628, Adam brought Sarah  back to Kecoughtan. Using Sarah’s dowry Adam began to  pay for the passage of indentured servants to Virginia with 105 eventually arriving between 1628 and 1635 in 17 different ships. For this the Governor of Virginia granted Adam a 5,350 acre Grand Patent of  undeveloped lands across the James River from Kecoughtan. He named his grant Lynnhaven (as well as the river running next to his land) after his English hometown King’s Lynn (todays one of the seven boroughs of Virginia Beach). 
*"Charlottesville Won’t Celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday. It Will Mark Slavery’s End Instead." by Michael E. Miller, March 2, 2020, The Washington Post
The Charlottesville City Council recently voted to no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as an official holiday. The celebration of his birthday on April 13 will be replaced with another holiday known as Liberation and Freedom Day, which will take place March 3. In a unanimous vote, on July 1, 2019, the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, established a new city holiday, Liberation and Freedom Day, to be celebrated on March 3. On March 1, 2020 at 9:31 pm, dozens gathered in downtown Charlottesville for a night of prayer and solemn reflection before the more joyous celebrations to come for Liberation and Freedom Day. Charlottesville hosted a vigil at the site of the former slave auction block. They came together to remember the lives of the 14,000 people freed from slavery when Union troops arrive in Charlottesville on March 3, 1865, as well as the lives of all of those who died in bondage before that day. The event featured speeches, singing, prayer, and a brief walking tour of Court Square and the sites that played a part in the buying and selling of human beings there just over a century and a half ago.His name still adorns much of the city, from the public library to a private winery. And from the foot of a mountain dedicated to him, his statue still gazes out over the university he founded. But lately, in ways both small and seismic, Thomas Jefferson’s town has started to feel like it belongs to someone else. For the first time since World War II, Charlottesville won’t honor the Founding Father’s birthday this spring. Instead, on Tuesday, the city will celebrate the demise of the institution with which Jefferson increasingly has become associated: slavery. Liberation and Freedom Day, as the new holiday is known, will commemorate when Union troops arrived here on March 3, 1865, and freed the enslaved people who made up a majority of Charlottesville’s residents. “This marks a wholesale shift in our understanding of the community’s history,” said Jalane Schmidt, a professor at the University of Virginia who helped organize the events, which, despite the name, stretch all week. “To take Thomas Jefferson’s birthday off the calendar and add this is a big deal.” The switch is the latest sign of a city struggling to come to grips with its past. The reckoning began with the legal fight over Charlottesville’s Confederate monuments, which inspired white supremacists to stage the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally.
*Court Square Park—selectively recorded and only partly excavated. The park, beside a county court building frequented by Thomas Jefferson, had once been McKee Row, a black community whose residents were uprooted in 1914 to make way for an all-white school. When plans for the school fell through, a wealthy white stockbroker bought the land and, in 1919, gave it to the city on the condition that it become a permanent home for a monument to Stonewall Jackson. A small marker, set into the sidewalk near the court building, reads, in part: “On this site slaves were bought and sold.”
*"The War Between the States," by Kenneth Harris, 2010
Page 4. At the end of 1860, the census records for Princes Anne County showed there were 4,529 free white and folks of color in Princess Anne County, and 3,186 slaves. Of the 4,529 free folks, 798 were white males of voting age eighteen years and older. The rest were women, children (under the age of eighteen) and free black..... There were some 334-slave owners in Princess Anne County at the outset of the war.
*“Two Years Ago, They Marched in Charlottesville. Where Are They Now?”  August 8, 2019 by the Anti-Defamation League,
*“Buttigieg's Puncturing of Religious Presumption,” 16 Jan 2020, the Washington Post by Michael Gerson
*“Virginia Panel Finds Scores of Defunct, Racist Laws It Says Should Be Erased,” the Washington Post, Dec, 6, 2019   
*“It’s Well Past Time for Virginia to Purge Racist Laws from Its Code,” the Washington Post, Dec 14, 2019
*“The 1619: African Arrival Exhibit” at the Hampton History Museum tells the story of slaves brought from Africa to Point Comfort.
* “How Slavery Warped Jefferson’s Vision for U-Va.” the Washington Post, Nov 3, 2019, book review of “Thomas Jefferson’s Education,” by Alan Taylor, reviewed by Drew Faust
* Ferry Plantation House, Wikipedia
* Cape Henry Lighthouse – Willis A. Hodges, first lighthouse keeper 
*"Cape Henry Lighthouse Get Its Day in the Spotlight," Virginian Pilot, Aug 6, 2015
* "Short Remarks on the Political and Social Writings of Reverend Anthony Walke, 2011", by Vogt, Roberta Elizabeth, page 119  
* "Theodore Milton Thoroughgood Selden, Norfolk Native Honored at Penn Law after Forgotten Story Resurfaces," by   Joanne Kimberlin, the Virginian-Pilot, Oct 24, 2015
* "Barnett K. Thoroughgood"– Wikipedia
*"Hidden History: Virginia Slave Spied to Help Lead America to Revolutionary War Victory," Feb 14, 2020, WAVY News, by Kara Dixon
*“James Armistead Lafayette,” from Wikipedia
*“Institutional Slavery: Slaveholding Churches, Schools, Colleges, and Businesses in Virginia, 1680-1860,” page 18, by Jennifer Oast, Jan 5, 2016. The traditional image of slavery begins with a master and a slave. However, not all slaves had traditional masters; some were owned instead by institutions, such as church congregations, schools, colleges, and businesses. This practice was pervasive in early Virginia; its educational, religious, and philanthropic institutions were literally built on the backs of slaves. Virginia's first industrial economy was also developed with the skilled labor of African American slaves. This is not only an account of how institutions used slavery to further their missions, but also of the slaves who belonged to institutions. Below are pages 15 - 18 \/
*“The Colonial Vestry Book of Lynnhaven Parish, Princess Anne County, Virginia, 1723-1786," digitized by the Internet Archive in 2011 with funding from Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation On October 13th, 1762. -Ordered that the Church wardens Sell that Tract of Land that Major Thomas Walke give to the parish In his last Will & Testament And the Money Arising thereby to be laid out In young Slaves for the support of the said parish. -Ordered that the Church wardens Agree with any Person to Repair the Parish houses & find such Materials as is wonting for them. On the 3rd Day of October 1779 -Resolved that it is the Opinion of this Vestry that the Manner Plantation which the Reverend Robert Dickson Devised to be sold. Rented, or otherwise appropriated for the Benefit of Educating poor Male Orphan Children, be retained for the said Purpose, and called and known by the Name of Dickson's Free-school; Resolved that it is the Opinion of this Vestry that the Slaves, named Harry, Lewis, Gefford, and Lydla, that were set apart for the said Robert Dickson's Widow's Dower, and after the expiration of which, as happening at her Death, were Devised to be sold, be Purchased for the Use and purpose aforesaid, the Vestry conceiving that their Labor and Service at this Time, will be more Advantageous than the Interest of the Money arising from the Sale thereof, and better promote the good Intention of the Testator, and that Mr. Anthony Walke Jr. is appointed to Purchase the said Slaves; Resolved that, if it should hereafter be found, or thought to be more for the Benefit of promoting the Purposes of the said Will, that the Land or Slaves should be sold, the above Resolves shall be no Barr there-to; Edward Hack Moseley Jr. and Anthony Walke Jr. is appointed to endeavor to procure a Teacher agreeable to the said Will, and Choice of this Vestry. Ordered that the Vestry be Adjourned till Tuesday the 19th Instant. Mr. Anthony Walke Informed the Vestry that he had not complied with their Order In Purchasing the Slaves belonging to the Estate of the Reverend Robert Dickson, deceased, because, he found on perusing the Will that the Vestry was not impowered to make such an Order; Resolved that the Vestry approves of the same.
*“Old Donation Episcopal Church”  from Wikipedia Upon his [Rev. Robert Dickson’s] death in 1776, he left his home, slaves and property to the church. This property, which was to be used as a free school for orphan boys, became known as "Donation Farm."
*“The History of Old Donation,” Upon his death in 1776, he left his home, slaves and property to the church.  This property, which was to be used as a free school for orphan boys, became known as “Donation Farm.”  It is from this reference that the church became known as Old Donation Church. The Reverend Dickson was buried under the altar in the 1736 church.

*“Members of The War of 1812 Society in Virginia participate in a Plaque unveiling at the Old Donation Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach” Chapter 3 - Significant Historic Topics - Slavery
1619 - Sir George Yeardley (1587–1627) was the father of Sarah Thoroughgood-Gookin-Yeardley’s third husband, Francis Yeardley (1620-1655). Yeardley was not only the founding father of representative government in America but also the founding father of a cruel system of human bondage that would eventually strip Africa of fifty million natives, the largest genocide of a people, ever. In 1619 the Virginia Company sent 32 year-old Yeardley to the Virginia Colony to be the new governor and to establish a government along the same lines as the British Parliament. Only three weeks after he established the Virginia General Assembly, Yeardley bought his first slaves. On August 20, 1619, Sir John Rolfe (1585 – 1622), who cultivated tobacco as the first successful export crop, recorded the following in his diary; “There came in a Dutch man—of—warre that sold us 20 negars. He did not state the price, but added that fifteen of the blacks were bought by Yardley himself, for work on his 1,000—acre tobacco plantation.” These black men were strictly speaking, “indentured servants,” and a couple sold to William Tucker had the first black child born in America. Yeardley was so successful in using these blacks to work his tobacco plantations that soon he bought more blacks, this time as chattel slaves. 1624 – Indentured servants made up 60% of all immigrants. They had to work 3 to 5 years for their passage and were trained in a trade (mostly woodworking and raising tobacco). Along with these voluntary indentured servants, British convicts were sent as involuntary indentured servants, some causing trouble and some running away to join with Indians. Involuntary indentured servants included orphan children picked up off the streets of London. 1637 - Adam Thoroughgood imported “three negroes,” according to land grants. 1650 – Black involuntary indentured servants evolved into slavery, as blacks did not know the language or their rights in court. But the total number of slaves was estimated to be no more than 300 in Lynnhaven Parish. Coming from Barbados, Lynnhaven Parish Church members Francis Land and Thomas Walke brought slaves with them to work the lucrative tobacco fields. There were also free blacks at Lynnhaven Parish Church but their numbers were small and their freedom tenuous. There were also Indian slaves bought on the pretext of Christianizing them. 1667 – Black freedom slowly deteriorated during the 17th century. A Law of Virginia decreed that the conferring of baptism did not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom. 1687 – Lynnhaven Parish Church fought mightily during the 17th century to discourage miscegenation and maintain the purity of the English white race. At first the white men were soundly whipped in church for dishonoring God and shaming Christians for defiling their bodies by lying with black women. One such case was the reverse of a white man and black woman. By order of the court in 1687, William, a black slave, was given 30 lashes on his bare back in the presence of Lynnhaven Parish Church congregants for fornicating with white church member Mary Basnett Square. No punishment was given to Mary. - In 1690 the penalty for a white man fornicating with a black slave women was eased to the point that a white man caught fornicating with a black woman paid a fine and the black slave woman received the whipping despite the fact that she was raped. - 731 - By 1731 the decline of indentured servants saw the steady increase in the slave population to about a quarter of Virginia's population. With this increase the white population became increasingly worried about the possibility of a slave uprising. Until 1731 slave owners were allowed to bring their slaves to Lynnhaven Parish Church, where they sat in the balcony and took communion outside. As worries mounted, the vestry made the unwise decision to no longer allow slaves in the church at all. Not content to stand outside during the long services, they began to meet. In the winter of 1731 slaves in Lynnhaven Parrish assembled on a Sunday during church services and chose leaders for an insurrection, but the meeting was discovered. A trial ensued, and four black ringleaders were hanged and the rest harshly punished. But insurrection talk among the slaves continued to spread, and militia patrols were employed to break up slave gatherings. Further, every man had to carry his guns to church on Sunday less they be stolen by slaves. Virginia Governor Gooch told the Bishop of London that some of the blame for slave unrest fell on cruel masters who "use their Negroes no better than their Cattle." - In 1736 Tobacco was king in Lynnhaven Parish but would see a gradual shift to grain, requiring fewer slaves. Toward the close of the eighteenth century Lynnhaven Parish had one of the smallest percentages of slaves in Virginia, but Virginia as a whole had the largest slave population of all the states with almost forty-five percent of its households owning slaves.  - In 1774, three years prior to his death, Reverend Dickson gave property to the Vestry of Lynnhaven Parish, the income to be used in employing, "an able and discreet teacher in the Latin and Greek languages and the mixed mathematics, to teach and instruct therein such number of the poor male orphan children being natives of the parish, as rents and income would justify.” Upon his death in 1777, Dickson’s will stated that one half of his personal estate should go to his wife Amy, with the rest to be sold and the money to go to the Vestry of Lynnhaven Parish, and after the death of his wife the balance of the estate was to be sold to support the free school. His estate included his home, slaves, and property. In 1801 there was a claim to the land Dickson donated to the church that challenged Old Donation Vestry control, and in 1813 the church was involved in a claim for the Dickson land from Dickson’s relatives living in Scotland. These claims apparently came to nothing. - In 1814 Reverend Anthony Walke (1755 - 1814) wanted to see the end of slavery and along with Thomas Jefferson was one of the early thinkers on how this could happen. Nevertheless, he was the largest slaveholding Episcopal minister in Tidewater Virginia. When he died he had over sixty-five slaves without a mention of their freedom in his will. But he must have left his thoughts with his grandson David (1800-1854) who stipulated upon his wife’s death that his slaves were to be freed. - Henry Woodhouse III (1607 - 1655) came to Virginia in 1630 and built his home on Linkhorn Bay shortly after a 1637 grant of 500 acres by the King of England. His estate was between those of Thomas Allen (1607-1660) and Francis Land II (1604 - 1657). Henry was a direct descendant of David I, King of Scotland, and his father, Capt Henry Woodhouse, was governor of Bermuda from 1623 to 1626. Henry's wife, Anne Bacon was a direct descendant of Edward I, King of England, and her father was Sir Nicholas Bacon the keeper of the Great Seal under Queen Elizabeth. Henry was a Lynnhaven Parish Vestryman and Justice from l642 to 1643 and member of the House of Burgess between 1647 and 1652.  Henry’s estate was willed from father to son for 269 years until 1906 with several houses being built on the plantation. The one standing today, “Old Comfort” at 1437 N Woodhouse Road, listed on Virginia Beach’s Historic Register, is just south of the original 1637 house (no longer standing). It was built using slave labor in 1832 by Henry Robert Woodhouse, the 8th generation from Henry Woodhouse III. It is called a Half House, common in this area in the early 19th Century, and thus named because Henry had planned to build the other half later, when he was prosperous enough to afford it. Because of a childhood illness Henry became stone deaf at 11 years of age. This physical handicap kept him from serving in the Confederate Army, but he was loyal to the cause of the south and was for years a friend of General Robert E. Lee who visited him at his home on Linkhorn Bay. When the war was over, and slaves freed, the Woodhouse slaves all stole off in the middle of the night leaving behind tiny baby Jim who was found the next morning in the kitchen and raised by the Woodhouse family. Henry Woodhouse died in 1890, and his wife Mary in 1907. - The Lands are one of the several notable families important to Lynnhaven Parish and to local government. Francis Land II (1604 - February 15, 1657) arrived in the area about 1638, and along with Thomas Walke, brought slaves to work the lucrative tobacco fields. By 1657 Francis had acquired 1,020 acres of land adjacent to Henry Woodhouse’s estate. He used flat bottom canoes to transport goods from Pine Tree Branch to the Chesapeake Bay. In 1640 he married Frances (1619 - 1646) whose surname is unknown. On 26 May 1647 Francis was nominated by the Court to serve as Churchwarden for Lynnhaven Parish Church. Francis’ oldest child, Renatus married next door neighbor Frances Keeling in 1665, the daughter of Thomas Keeling. Francis and Frances’ other two children were Francis III and Susan. Francis III had four more male descendants named Francis Land up through Francis Moseley Land VI. By the mid-18th century the plantation had around 20 slaves, typical for the tobacco plantations in the area. 
*“A Guide to the Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-1862” Local government court record collections of Princess Anne County kept in the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
*"In Virginia, a Call to Boost School Spending by Nearly $1Billion," NPR-WAMU 88.5, Dec 12, 2019,  District school boundaries are based on income, the taxation that supports local district public schools. Virginia’s state funding per student has fallen 9% since the 2008-2009 school year. School districts, in turn, have relied increasingly on local dollars to fund schools. Affluent communities can often afford to spend more, exacerbating inequities among schools.
* "Walking Toward Truth Pilgrimage" Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia Commemorating the 1619 Arrival of the First Enslaved Africans to Virginia, Friday, March 6, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, March 7, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in downtown Hampton - This Lent, the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Episcopal Church Center invite you to a sacred time of pilgrimage, reflection, ritual, prayer, and embodied witness as we walk toward the truth about our Church’s role in slavery. The pilgrimage will occur Friday, March 6, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, March 7, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Space is limited to 40 participants. The $25 registration fee includes transportation, entrance fees and lunch both days. We’ll visit sites of memory at Old Point Comfort, the Emancipation Oak, and the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton on Friday, and Historic Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg on Saturday. Our time together will include a welcome from our new Bishop Susan B. Haynes, worship at historic St. John’s, Hampton and Bruton Parish, presentations, historical interpretation, and a panel presentation with churches reflecting on their history, facilitated by Barbara Hamm Lee, host of Another View. Inspired by The Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community and our diocesan Repairing the Breach initiatives, this pilgrimage promises to be an important step in our ongoing journey toward racial healing, reconciliation, and justice. •On Friday, March 6, we will begin at 12 p.m. at St. John’s (100 W. Queens Way, Hampton). See map below for parking, blue X indicates small parish house parking lot. On Saturday, March 7, we will begin at 8:30 a.m. at St. Martin’s (1333 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg). •Please note we will be walking on uneven terrain during many of our stops.
•The event will be held rain or shine so please plan accordingly.
*“Oldest Episcopal Parish’s Past Holds Uncomfortable Truths In City Where African American History Began,” by David Paulsen, Jan 22, 2020
No Episcopal parish has been a witness to a longer span of American history than St. John’s Episcopal Church in the heart of this coastal city’s downtown. The city and parish share an origin story that dates to the earliest Colonial beginnings of both the United States and The Episcopal Church. In 1610, some of the British settlers who had been suffering from illness and hunger in Jamestown, about 35 miles north along the James River, attacked and expelled the indigenous Kecoughtan Indians from their village here. The settlers took over this land near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, coveted for its abundant natural resources and proximity to the ocean. They established an Anglican parish, and when the community was renamed Elizabeth City in 1619, the parish became known as Elizabeth City Parish. Also in 1619, the settlers here were witness to the first arrival of enslaved Africans in British North America. The story told by Jamestown colonist John Rolfe describes “20 and odd Negroes” who were taken ashore at nearby Point Comfort and sold for supplies. That transaction only hinted at how slavery soon would dominate the economy and the social life of Virginia and slaveholding communities like Hampton. Black chattel slavery was codified in Virginia law in the second half of the 17th century and began to surge, replacing white indentured servants as the preferred labor source for tobacco cultivation. In Hampton, black residents, most of them slaves, made up nearly half or more than half of the population throughout the antebellum period. Today’s Hampton is a city of about 135,000 residents, more than half of them African American. Last year, commemorations marking 400 years of African American history generated renewed public interest in the city. The Episcopal Church joined in some of those commemorations, including a kickoff worship service hosted by St. John’s, and the Diocese of Southern Virginia is planning a pilgrimage in the Hampton area on March 6 and 7. It’s a small town, but there are these rich stories,” said the Rev. Charles Wynder, a Hampton native and The Episcopal Church’s staff officer for social justice and engagement. Wynder sees something representative in his hometown and its churches’ struggles to assess the past honestly. “These churches’ narratives reflect stories of other parishes and the witness of Episcopalians throughout the church.” A historical marker notes that this stretch of shoreline is where the first enslaved Africans were said to have been brought ashore in British North America in 1619. The St. John’s congregation has been Bob Harper’s “church family” for more than 20 years. “The longer you’re in a church, the more you appreciate the different personalities that make it up,” said Harper, who serves as senior warden. After retiring from the Army, Harper, who is white, said he chose to move to Hampton because of its racial diversity. But that diversity is not reflected in Hampton’s Episcopal congregations. St. John’s, with an estimated average Sunday attendance of 125 to 150, remains mostly white, while most black Episcopalians worship at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, just west of downtown. St. Cyprian’s, which Wynder grew up attending, was founded in 1905 because St. John’s at that time didn’t welcome African Americans. More than a century later, St. John’s now opens its doors to worshippers of all races and backgrounds, and the two congregations have come together for various special events. But “on Sunday morning, we don’t have a lot of blending of the congregations,” Harper said. Only in the last 15 years has The Episcopal Church, a denomination with a membership reported to be 90 percent white, taken deliberate steps to acknowledge uncomfortable truths about its past complicity with slavery and segregation and to encourage racial healing. In 2006 and again in 2009, General Convention called on dioceses and congregations to research their history of supporting and benefiting from racial oppression. They were asked to confront long-ignored truths and, as appropriate, to repent of past sins. Some have done the work, but certainly not all, said Byron Rushing, vice president of the House of Deputies. “The history of The Episcopal Church is parallel to the history of the United States,” Rushing said in an interview with Episcopal News Service. “That’s a lot of time, and that’s a lot of stories.” Seeking the truth of the church’s racial past The Episcopal Church took the additional step in 2015 of identifying racial reconciliation as one of its core priorities, along with evangelism and care of creation, and that year the church also elected Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American to lead the church. In 2017, church officers endorsed Becoming Beloved Community, now The Episcopal Church’s cornerstone racial reconciliation initiative. “Telling the Truth” about the church’s past is a critical component of the initiative.We wanted people to just go back and do their own history of their relationship as organized Episcopalians to people of color,” Rushing said. “Because if you’re in the United States, you are a very, very peculiar Episcopal church if you have a history that does not coincide in any way with people of color.” Hampton has four Episcopal congregations, including Emmanuel Episcopal Church, which formed in 1897 as a mission of St. John’s, and the smaller parish of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, a 57-year-old congregation that last year moved out of its own church building and began worshipping at St. John’s partly due to financial strains. In 2013, following the recommendations of General Convention, the Diocese of Southern Virginia held a Service of Repentance, Reconciliation & Healing in Norfolk, just south of Hampton. The diocese also assembled a brief written summary of its history with racism and encouraged its congregations to do the same, and then-Bishop Herman Hollerith issued a formal apology on behalf of his diocese’s churches for their roles in sustaining slavery and segregation. “Spiritual common sense would suggest that a community of faith cannot move forward in its common life in Christ until it has first confessed its wrongdoing,” Hollerith said.  The four Episcopal congregations in Hampton organized their own Service of Repentance in 2015. It was modeled after the diocese’s service and held at St. John’s, but five years later, the host congregation has only recently begun engaging in deeper discussions about its historic ties to slavery and the Confederacy. “I don’t know that churches are always good at talking about uncomfortable things,” the Rev. Samantha Vincent-Alexander told ENS. She has served as rector at St. John’s for the past six years, and last fall, she began leading a group of about 20 parishioners through Sacred Ground, The Episcopal Church’s 10-session discussion series on racism and racial healing.  “I think everyone is getting something out it,” Vincent-Alexander said, including the experience of “talking about things we’re not accustomed to talking about.”  In her first years at St. John’s, she recalled it “never occurred to us” that re-examining the congregation’s past ties to slavery might be a necessary step toward racial reconciliation. “I think that’s something you need to lay groundwork for, and I don’t think we were there.” She also senses that some members believe that the church’s past already is well known and that the congregation isn’t trying to hide anything negative, so it would be better to move on and look instead to the future. But St. John’s also proudly celebrates its long history, and going forward, Vincent-Alexander wants to encourage the congregation to confront less-comfortable stories as well. “If we want to take pride in who we have been,” she said, “then we also have to take ownership in the negative things that we have done.”  In historic church’s cemetery, Confederate markers abound A chest-high brick wall encircles the cemetery and buildings at St. John’s Episcopal Church, identified by a sign out front as the “oldest continuous Protestant church in North America.” Within the wall, monuments to the dead form constellations that envelope the church and stretch north to a back corner of the cemetery.  An estimated 3,000 people are buried here – native Hamptonians, transplanted Northerners, church rectors, vestrymen, husbands and wives, young children, and 145 Civil War veterans whose Confederate service is dutifully inscribed at their final resting places. Just 15 paces off the path leading to the church’s front door looms a 20-foot monument, its inscription memorializing “Our Confederate Dead.” “It’s a cemetery, but it’s also a historical landmark, too,” said David Bishop, the cemetery’s administrator, as he walked among the graves. The church and its cemetery are “one of the centerpieces of just about every map that’s drawn of Hampton.” David Bishop, the St. John’s cemetery administrator, indicates the grave of Solomon Fosque, who served the church as sexton in the early 1900s. Wearing a University of Virginia hat over his Ray-Ban sunglasses, the 64-year-old Bishop walks the cemetery’s paths with the unrushed gait of someone who retired in June after teaching history at Kecoughtan High School for 22 years. A St. John’s member since 1991, Bishop is an adept guide. Rectors are buried near the church, such as the Rev. Reverdy Estill, who served here from 1905 to 1911. Over there is Alaska Bishop John Bentley, originally from Hampton. And here are the graves of James McMenamin and J.S. Darling, two Northerners who helped revitalize Hampton’s economy after the Civil War through the city’s burgeoning crab and oyster industry. A large headstone behind the church marks the grave of Solomon Fosque, the parish’s “faithful sexton” who died in 1936. Another longtime sexton, William Parker, died in 2012 and is buried nearby. Fosque and Parker are the only African Americans buried in the cemetery, as far as Bishop knows. “It would be very unusual for there to be any more,” he says. Yet African American history and parish history overlapped nearly from the beginning. Two of the enslaved Africans who landed here in 1619 were thought to have been taken into the household of prominent Elizabeth City parishioner Capt. William Tucker. The African couple, Anthony and Isabella, had a son named William, who was baptized either in Jamestown or Elizabeth City – the baptizing church is up for debate, as is the family’s status, whether slaves or indentured servants.
St. John’s, however, makes no reference to slavery in its online history, which instead focuses primarily on the various church sites and the structures that were built upon them. The congregation now worships in a church that was built in 1728 on the parish’s fourth site in the city. In 1830, it took its present name, St. John’s. Some of the earliest details of St. John’s complicity with slavery are presumed lost to history. Surviving vestry books go back to 1751, leaving a gap of more than 140 years from the founding of Elizabeth City Parish. Other documents begin to flesh out the lives of ministers, vestrymen and parishioners, but “the life of the slaves owned by these gentlemen and other residents of Elizabeth City County went unrecorded in the pages of history,” historian Rogers Whichard wrote in 1959. Though details of their lives may have gone unrecorded, those early African Americans left lasting marks on the community – including presumably in the bricks that have formed the walls of the church for nearly 300 years. Though no one knows for sure, slave labor likely was used to build the church. “I would be surprised if it didn’t,” Harper said. St. John’s Heritage Working Group members Billie Eiselen, left, and Carolyn Hawkins look at some of the archival material collected in a storage room in the parish hall. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service Billie Eiselen also assumes so. She is a member of the parish’s Heritage Working Group, which formed after St. John’s celebrated 400 years in 2010. Its main tasks are to sort and manage the church archives and assist outside researchers, but the group is doubtful that the archives contain any details about the church’s construction. “I would think that slaves would have helped in this,” Eiselen said, but she can say for certain only that Henry Cary Jr. was the contractor hired to oversee the job. She thinks the group might be able to find documentation of Cary’s projects, possibly including use of slave labor, at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, though the group hasn’t undertaken that research. Congregations around The Episcopal Church, both in the North and the South, have similar unanswered questions about their racial history, Rushing said, and as the highest-ranking, most prominent black lay leader in The Episcopal Church, he believes that researching such uncomfortable details is a crucial task in a Christian denomination that describes itself as anti-racist and reconciling. “We are doing this in order to get to a point where we can talk to each other about how we understand where we are right now. Because that is completely based on where we have been and what we have been,” he said. “We need to be on the same page, and the same page is truth.” Other researchers have found ways of confirming and quantifying The Episcopal Church’s complicity in slavery. Julia Randle is one. The Diocese of Southern Virginia split from the Diocese of Virginia in 1892, but during the era of slavery there was just one Virginia diocese. Randle, who serves as registrar and historiographer of the Diocese of Virginia, confirmed with census records that at least 84 of the 112 Episcopal clergy in the diocese owned at least one slave in 1860. Her research was published in a diocesan article in 2006 and presented to General Convention that year. “In a slave society, in a slave economy, you cannot escape it. You are a part of it no matter what you think,” Randle told ENS. “It is a rare congregation that has really looked hard at it.” The Hampton congregations, though still unlikely to blend most Sunday mornings, have attempted to bridge their racial divides on special occasions, such as a joint potluck dinner in November that drew about 60 people to St. John’s parish hall. Harper, the senior warden, collaborated on planning that dinner with Stephanie Kendall, the senior warden at St. Cyprian’s, and they hope to partner on more events in the future. St. Cyprian’s worships in a modern church building about five minutes west of downtown Hampton. Kendall doesn’t have to look back far to recall who built St. Cyprian’s. She remembers bringing them “lots of chili and Brunswick stew,” a regional specialty. Stephanie Kendall Stephanie Kendall talks about the history of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, where she is senior warden. She and other parishioners volunteered their time for three years to complete construction of the congregation’s present building. It hosted its first worship service in 1985. Wearing a pendent cross over her black shirt, Kendall stood in the aisle at the rear of the sparsely appointed nave and recalled those days of transition. “We had a lot of sweat equity on the weekends. The men of the church would come and lay the brick and do lots of things, except what had to be contracted like the electrical and plumbing,” said Kendall, who now serves as senior warden. In 1905, the Rev. C. Braxton Bryan, rector at St. John’s, was among the local leaders credited with helping 10 black residents of Hampton found St. Cyprian’s. Bryan made no effort to hide his own paternalistic views toward the black community, which were based in a since-discredited belief in white racial superiority. But he and his congregation were willing to support St. Cyprian’s in its early years as a mission of St. John’s. “St. Cyprian’s was born in a different time from today,” the historically black congregation says in a brief written history. “It was a time of strict segregation of races in all areas of life’s activities.” Kendall has called Hampton her home nearly all her life, and her spiritual home has always been this church. Now 68 and retired after a career in clinical pathology, she proudly took time out of her afternoon to point out the features of the church, parish hall and offices. She grew emotional recounting two childhood experiences she had with segregation and integration – neither of which she wanted shared publicly. And when asked whether she thought St. John’s could do more to face its own historic complicity with slavery and segregation, she declined to comment about another congregation’s decisions. Instead, she framed her response in terms of her own congregation. “If there were more history to be told about St. Cyprian’s, I would want to know it,” she said, “simply because it’s my church and I love it.” David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at

Brief History of “Seatack,” a Historic Community in the City of Virginia Beach, VA, by the Virginia Beach Community Civic League
"Seatack" found its name from the words "Sea  Attack", based on British Warships firing canon-balls inland in the 1700s. "Seatack" is the oldest African American community in the United States.   There were only 13 states in the United States when Seatack was settled.  Seatack originally made up a large portion of the land of Old Princess Anne County, along the Atlantic coast and possibly along the Chesapeake Bay.  Seatack was so large that old 1800 state records refer to it as "Seatack, Virginia" without any mention of Princess Ann County.  Further research is being conducted by the Seatack Civic League to determine how large was the original Seatack community. The African Americans who originally settled in Seatack in the late 1700's or beginning of the 1800's were free, not slaves.  They owned their own farms, built their own homes.  They were craftsmen, builders, farmers, fishermen, and hunters.  Whatever they needed they built it with their own hands.  During those early days of Seatack there was only three ways to eat.  There was no Farm Fresh or Food Lion Stores to buy food.  They had to hunt their food; grow their food; or go out in the Atlantic Ocean and fish for food. Seatack First Life Savers in Virginia Beach- U. S. Life Saving Station Seatack, Virginia No. 2:  Seatack men who were fishing in the Atlantic Ocean would pull people to safety after a shipwreck in the early 1800's.  Black men of Seatack were life-savers before America ever had a U. S. Coast Guard.  Around 1874, the first Keeper appointed by the U. S. Congress for U. S. Life Saving Station Seatack, Virginia No. 2, Mr. Edward Drinkwater, refused to allow any more black men of Seatack to serve as life savers under him.  In 1979, the U. S. Congress placed the U. S. Life Saving Station Seatack, Virginia in the National Register of Historical Places.  Eight months later, City of Virginia Beach officials had the name "Seatack" removed and replaced it with the name "Virginia Beach".  This effectively served to keep the general public from knowing true "Seatack" historical contribution to American History. Ref. U. S. Coast Guard History Program. In 1908, the citizens of Seatack formed the first school for Negro children at the Mother Church of Seatack, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 310 North Birdneck Road in Seatack, Virginia Beach.  In the 1920's, the black parents of Seatack formed the Seatack Public School League of Princess Ann County.  Seatack citizens later provided the land for the original Seatack Elementary School that opened in 1952.   These first formal education efforts of Seatack citizens lead to demand for the first high school for Negro children in Princess Anne County that started in the 1930's. On May 20, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8757 that reactivated the U. S. Civil Defense.  In Seatack, about 24 black men were appointed U. S. Civil Defense "Air Raid Wardens" to watch out for enemy air planes. At that time, Virginia Beach was a little township along the oceanfront. These black men from Seatack help protect the little Town of Virginia Beach during World War II, and made up a large part of the hard labor that helped Virginia Beach grow during its early development years. Black men of Seatack served in every war America has been involved in from the American Revolutionary War to the present date.  Men and women of Seatack have given their best in defense of American freedom around the world, and at home in helping to build the City of Virginia Beach. In 1948, the black men of Seatack who returned from World War II organized and built the first black owned and operated "Fire Department" ever to exist in the United States, know as the Seatack Volunteer Fire Department.  It was located where the Seatack Community Recreation Center is today.  The city moved the Seatack Fire station No 12 out of the heart of Seatack. Today Station 12 is located on South Birdneck Road by Seatack and Birdneck Elementary Schools near General Booth Boulevard. In 1985, Mr. Joseph V. Grimstead, Sr., President of Seatack Community Properties, Inc. dedicated the land for the Seatack Community and Recreation Center to be built.  The current facility opened on April 19, 1997. Ref. Virginian-Pilot Newspaper. On October 15, 2011 the Seatack Civic League held the first annual 200th Birthday Celebration.  It was the first major African American community event ever held in the City of Virginia Beach, and the first large event held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center by African Americans.   Bishop Barnett K. Thoroughgood's National Funeral Service was held there on February 10, 2012 and set a new record of attendance for an African American event having over 4, 000. On January 7, 2012 the City of Virginia Beach named the first city building after an African American man, Joseph V. Grimstead, Sr Seatack Community Recreation Center, on the site of the old Seatack Fire Station. On June 25, 2012 Mayor William D. Sessoms along with senior residents of Seatack and Seatack Civic League officials held the Grand Opening of the Seatack Civic - College Funding Office at 141 South Birdneck Road at the Joseph V. Grimstead, Sr. Seatack Community Recreation Center.  A continuation of our focus on our children education. The Seatack Community Civic League (SCCL) is one of the oldest African American civic organization in the city, being over 100 years old.  SCCL has been a member of the Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organization (VBCCO) since 1969.  The current civic league administration was elected in 2010.
Oceana Neighborhood Becomes First Residential National Register Historic District in Virginia Beach, Wednesday, October 04, 2017.”
As the oldest African American community in the United States going back to 1700's, Seatack certainly deserves to be recognized as a historic place. It is just east-of and abutting Oceana Neighborhood Historic District, a district the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) worked in 2017 to have listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Oceana Neighborhood Historic District is now recognized for being one of Virginia Beach's earliest 20th-century communities with its 1906 subdivision called "Oceana Gardens." Now gone, there were houses in the Oceana Neighborhood of various architectural styles such as Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, American Foursquare, Craftsman Bungalow, and some pre-cut “kit” houses. The HPC is now giving top priority to the Seatack neighborhood for also listing it in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

You Can’t Argue Facts,” the Virginian Pilot, Aug 11, 2019, by Denise M. Watson

Note: Slave names are highlighted in yellow.
Thanks for reading "Virginia Slavery," the history of black people in Virginia.
Your comments are welcome.
Bob Perrine 757-481-1269
4416 Whaler Court
Virginia Beach VA 23451

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