Monthly Archives: April 2014

When There is a Will, There is a Way

From 1800 to 1860, Virginia had more slaves than any other state. African enslavement formed the very basis of Virginia’s successful plantation based economy of raising tobacco, and the more infamous cultivation and selling of slaves to states further south for use on rice and cotton plantations.

But during the late summer of 1831, Virginia’s notion of idyllic ante-bellum life came to a bloody halt with the Nat Turner Slave Rebellion. Nat Turner and his collaborators would start a slave uprising in Southampton Virginia that contributed to more deaths than any other slave revolt in United States’ history. Turner’s revolt prompted a dramatic debate in the Virginia General Assembly of 1832 that lead to the enactment of a series of laws to limit the activities of African Americans, both free and enslaved. These laws, historically referred to as “Negro Codes,” included slaves and even free persons of color being highly regulated by an onerous pass system. Continue reading

The Symbol of One America

In the Richmond Times Dispatch

Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 12:43 pm, Thu Apr 3, 2014.


On the morning of April 3, 1865, Union troops entered the city of Richmond, then capital of the Confederate States of America. Richmond had become the holy grail of the Union war effort, in a civil war between Americans of Northern and Southern persuasions that would claim an estimated 620,000 combatants who would give their lives in the line of duty.

Born and raised a Northerner from a multiracial family, I was taught in school to see the Civil War from the perspective of the North fighting to end slavery and restoring the Union. Southerners and those who would fight for the Confederate cause were on the wrong side of morality and history. As I matured and exposed myself to the complexities of the time and its issues, I learned more Continue reading