After the first documented forced immigration of Africans in 1619, Virginia laws and attitudes towards race began hardening as an enslaved workforce became crucial for the tobacco economy.
Drag and drop each of the laws and codes to the matching year.
Peaceful transitions of power affirm that our country is at its best when leaders work towards supporting all of its people. During times of turmoil and unrest, we should be able to rely on our governing bodies to respect the differing perspectives and needs of the public. How do non-peaceful transitions of power affect both the nation and the individual?
Everyone has their own unique relationship with the places they and their family have lived. People bring their respective cultures and identities together to create Virginia’s communities. How can our communities remain inclusive as they become more diverse?
Slavery exists today in the form of human trafficking. The most vulnerable are people with addictions, runaway youths, and the homeless.
Report suspected cases to the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888.
Governments change and adapt based on their societal needs. What elements allow governments to adapt to changing circumstances? How are community needs considered under different forms of government? How will you add your voice to political decision making?
Did you make any personal connections with the cultural ideologies presented here? How can religion(s) bring communities together through both their shared characteristics and their differences? How has religion evolved to fit the changing needs of your community?
Just as the past has woven threads into our present, we have the power to strengthen or pull apart our nation’s fabric with choices we make today. Marginalized communities struggle for equal access to healthcare, economic opportunities, quality education and voting rights. What will you do for social justice and racial equality to provide better lives for all citizens?
Children of enslaved women are enslaved.
Elizabeth Key won her freedom in 1656 by claiming that she was illegally enslaved because although her mother was enslaved, her father was a free Englishman. The 1662 Hereditary Slave Act countered successful freedom suits like hers. It specified that “all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.”
Codifying racial chattel slavery
The Virginia Slave codes legally entrenched racial chattel slavery, including allowing owners of runaway slaves to exact severe punishment on them, even if it led to their deaths. Wealthy planter Robert “King” Carter gained court permission to chop off the toes of several people he enslaved. He claimed to have “cured many a negro from running away by this means.”
Abolished slavery in the United States.
George W. Hatton was a Black soldier in the Union Army. In 1863, he marveled that “I look around me and see hundreds of colored men armed and ready to defend the Government… and such are my feelings…-- our bondage is over." Two years later, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
Building upon legal attempts begun in the 17th century to segregate the races and maintain white supremacy, this Virginia law defined “white” as individuals with “no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian.” One of the law’s main clauses prohibited interracial marriages.
Legalized interracial marriage throughout the United States.
In 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple, were sentenced to a year in prison for their marriage, which violated the 1924 Racial Integrity Act. The couple appealed their case all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor. Loving vs. Virginia struck down Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act and legalized interracial marriage throughout the United States.