July 2015

Family Reunion: African American Descendants of the Underwood Convention Delegates and Reconstruction Legislators
Monday, July 06, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM–8:30 PM
Place: House Room 3, State Capitol, Free but space is limited. RSVP to bedwards@dls.virginia.gov by June 30, 2015.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission will present a free public forum on the legacy of the African American delegates to the 1867–1868 Virginia Constitutional (Underwood) Convention and the 1869–1890 Reconstruction legislators, cosponsored by the Virginia House of Delegates, the Senate of Virginia, and Library of Virginia as a part of the commission's commemorative events for the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The panelists include the Honorable Viola O. Baskerville, former secretary of administration and a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates; Ajena Rogers, a historian, a supervisor/ranger for the National Park Service's Maggie Walker National Historical Site, and a descendant of an African American member of the Virginia House of Delegates; Juanita Owens Wyatt, a King Commission member and also a descendant of African American members of the Virginia House of Delegates; and the Honorable Mamie E. Locke, vice chairwoman of the King Commission and chairwoman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. The forum will be moderated by Dr. Lauranett L. Lee, curator of African American history at the Virginia Historical Society. For additional information, please contact Brenda H. Edwards, Division of Legislative Services, General Assembly Building, 2nd Floor, 201 North Ninth Street, Richmond, VA 23219; bedwards@dls.virginia.gov or (804) 786-3591, ext. 232. Persons planning to attend this program should enter on Bank Street.

“I Am a Soldier Now”: United States Colored Troops in Virginia's Civil War
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Time: Noon–1:00 PM
Place: Conference Rooms, Free

Approximately 180,000 African Americans served in the Union army during the Civil War, and many more African Americans served in the Union navy. At least 5,723 black soldiers were mustered into service in Virginia, although Virginia-born and -raised black troops likely joined in other locations. Emmanuel Dabney (Petersburg National Battlefield Park), James Price (historic site manager of the Ben Lomond Historic Site and Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park in Woodbridge), and Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander (Norfolk State University) will discuss the history of the United States Colored Troops and the role they played in shaping Virginia's Civil War experience. This program complements Remaking Virginia: Transformation through Emancipation.

Remaking Virginia: Transformation through Emancipation
Monday, July 06, 2015—Saturday, March 26, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
Place: Lobby and Exhibition Hall, Free

Even as the Civil War was still being fought, the status of almost a half-million African Americans in Virginia began to change. No longer were they someone else's property—they were free. They anticipated the promise of change from their former status as slaves: the promises of education, political participation, and full citizenship. Yet, in their struggle to achieve these goals, freedmen and freedwomen faced the hostility of their former masters and the society that had long benefitted from their labor. Union troops and U.S. government officials reconstructing the Southern states were often indifferent. What challenges did African Americans face in their struggle to achieve what they believed freedom would bring them? What obstacles blocked their efforts to gain citizenship? How successful were African Americans during Reconstruction in claiming their objectives? Did the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution significantly aid them in their struggles? The Library of Virginia's exhibition Remaking Virginia: Transformation through Emancipation offers a look at the changing world Virginians faced during Reconstruction. Radio One is the exclusive radio sponsor for Remaking Virginia.

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