Almost Free: A Story About Race and Family in Antebellum Virginia
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Time: Noon–1:00 PM
Place: Lecture Hall, Free
Eva Sheppard Wolf, associate professor of history at San Francisco University, uses the story of Samuel Johnson, a free black man from Virginia attempting to free his family, to add detail and depth to our understanding of the lives of free blacks in the South. After ten years of elaborate dealings and negotiations, Johnson earned manumission in August 1812. He stayed in Fauquier County and managed to buy his enslaved family, but the law of the time required that they leave Virginia if Johnson freed them. Johnson opted to stay. Because slaves' marriages had no legal standing, Johnson was not legally married to his enslaved wife, and in the event of his death his family would be sold to new owners. Johnson's story dramatically illustrates the many harsh realities and cruel ironies faced by blacks in a society hostile to their freedom. Wolf recently appeared on NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? with actor Blair Underwood in scenes filmed at the Library of Virginia. A book signing will follow the talk.
Lost & Found
Monday, February 27, 2012 — Saturday, August 25, 2012
Place: Lobby and Exhibition Hall, Free
What do you collect and value? Lost and Found examines the constantly changing fabric of our world. Things disappear from our cultural landscape, sometimes almost without notice—signs, buildings, even towns—and others go into attics, basements, and landfills. Some are saved and carefully stored and preserved; others intentionally destroyed, sometimes dramatically. Explore the spectacular destruction of archives by chance and nature, the intentional destruction of personal papers, the careful preservation of family treasures, and the assemblage of materials in a bank safe deposit.
The Forgotten War: The War of 1812
Monday, November 07, 2011 — Saturday, September 15, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
The Forgotten War: The War of 1812 highlights a forthcoming digital archive of materials in the collections of the Library of Virginia that relate to the War of 1812. Selections from the archive will address Virginia's role, including the impressment of American citizens as one cause of the war, the British blockade of the Chesapeake Bay, and military engagements at Craney Island and Washington, D.C.