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“Let’s tell Russia about this.”
Massive Resistance and the Closing of the Schools
Under the leadership of U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr., Virginia chose to obstruct the Brown v. Board of Education decision by enacting a policy of Massive Resistance. Governor J. Lindsay Almond Jr. closed public schools in Warren County, Charlottesville, and Norfolk in the autumn of 1958 rather than integrate them, but two court decisions on January 19, 1959—one from a federal court, the other from the state supreme court—both overturned the Massive Resistance laws and demanded that the schools be reopened.
Prince Edward County officials continued to defy the court orders, however. On May 9, 1959, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals set September 1 as a deadline for integration. On June 26, the county board of supervisors voted instead to cut off revenues to the public schools. Encouraged by segregationists from across the state and the South, Prince Edward was the only locality in the nation to take such a step. The schools did not open on September 10 as scheduled and remained closed for the next five years.
While white students quickly moved into Prince Edward Academy—a new private school supported by state-approved tuition grants and donations from ardent segregationists—black students were left without any educational facilities. Some local churches provided a rudimentary substitute for the local schools, and some black students attended classes in nearby counties or, with the aid of the Quaker-affiliated American Friends Service Committee, relocated. Most black students, however, and especially children who were too young to move away from home, were denied access to any formal education. Similarly, most black teachers lost their jobs, forcing many to leave the community.
Julia Randle found in her research that,
Of the 112 Episcopal clergy canonically and physically resident in the Diocese of Virginia in 1860, 103 could be located in the U.S. Census of that year. Eighty-four of the brethren, or 82 percent, possessed at least one slave, while some owned dozens.
In our own research, we have located thus far located 99 in the U.S. Census of 1860. Thus far we find 67, or 68%, were slaveholders.
We found our 67th slaveholder yesterday, the Rev. George W. Dame. He served Camden Parish in Danville, Pittsylvania County (map), and is remembered as the father of the Episcopal Church in the area. Like most us, a single story does not describe us. Dame was a slave holder, but he was also a faithful chaplain to Union soldiers imprisoned in Danville.
Dame is found in this Census page where you can see his age (48), occupation (“Clergyman P.E.”) and place of birth (New Hampshire). Given the precision of the occupation we can be certain this is our man. The census record also shows the other members of his household, their race , the value of his real estate and the value of his personal estate.
The value of Dame’s estate was considerable for the time: real estate is $10,200; his personal estate, $14,000.
There were eleven persons in the Dame household, all white. Eight of those are probably his wife and children. Besides Dame, four others in the household are earning an income. Two others, last name Cushing, are likely relatives: see biography and Dame family papers below.
The census slave schedule shows Dame owned fourteen slaves, and had four slave houses. Slave names are not given in census slave schedules. His slaves by age, gender and color:
- 27, F (female), B (black)
- 35, F, B
- 35, M, B
- 28, M, B
- 26, F, B
- 26, M, B
- 23, F, B
- 15, M, B
- 9, M, B
- 7, M, B
- 5, M, B
- 3, F, B
- 3, M, B
- 1/2, F, B
(A hint to other researchers: The reason this record was not found quickly on ancestry.com is due to an electronic mistranscription of his name. He has located by looking on the Census page for neighbors who likely owned slaves.)
More about George W. Dame
Civil War Prison Chaplain. Most of the 1300 Union soldiers who died in the six Confederate prisons in Danville are
buried in National Cemetery in Danville. Dame “would go to the prisons each day and copy down the names of those who had died.” His records have been used in a project to more fully identify the men buried there. More: Dr. Rev. George Washington Dame lived on a three-acre tract on Colquhoun Street not so far from what became the National Cemetery after the Civil War. Dr. Dame prepared wooden markers for federal prisoners who died while being held prisoners of war. He is largely responsible for preserving the identity of more that 1,300 soldiers who remain buried in the cemetery on Lee Street.
Biography. “Dr. George Washington Dame, father of Dr. William Meade Dame, was a prominent clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church, and for the remarkably long period of fifty-six years was rector of Camden parish, Danville, Virginia. He was at one time Professor of Latin in Hampden Sidney College, and for several years held the office of superintendent of public schools in Pittsylvania county, Virginia. He was a man of “dauntless energy, gift for teaching, utter unselfishness and great charity toward all men.” He married Mary Maria, daughter of Major Carter Page, of “The Fork,” Cumberland county, Virginia, and his wife, Lucy (Nelson) Page.” More: “Lived Danville Virginia. Came to Virginia May 1823 to be educated at Hampden-Sidney College, of which his uncle, Jonathan P. Cushing, was President. Was a professor there from 1832 to 1836. Was principal of a female academy in Lynchburg Virginia in 1838, and at Prince Edward Courthouse in 1839 and 1840. Ordained and moved to Danville Virginia in Sep 1840. Was principal of a female academy from 1840 to 1864, and rector of Camden Parish from 1840 to 1890 – fifty years.”
This collection centers on George Washington Dame (1812–1895), Episcopal minister and educator of Danville, and his wife, Mary Maria (Page) Dame (1813–1895). Letters, ca. 1850–1859, from George Dame to Mary Dame discuss his work as a minister and the operation of their household during her absence (section 2). Letters, 1846–1863, to Mary Dame from her sister, Lucy Jane (Page) Cushing (1804–1872), include information on religion and the activities of family members, as well as events in the neighborhood and beyond (section 3). The collection also contains Jonathan Cushing Dame’s (b. 1836) letters to his parents, as well as letters to Mary Dame from her other children, her nieces, and other female relatives (section 6). A letter, 1851, from Jonathan Dame offers a detailed account of the escape of one of the family’s slaves, and one, ca. 1850, from his brother, William Meade Dame (1844–1923), provides a similar account of a murder allegedly committed by a free black. A small amount of correspondence pertains to schools operated by George Dame, sometimes in conjunction with his wife, including one for girls in the 1850s (sections 2, 3, 6 and 7). The papers contain little information on the Civil War, but offer insights into family relationships and gender roles and expectations in the mid-nineteenth century.
June 19th celebrates the day in 1865 when word reached slaves in Texas.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
General Granger read General Order, Number 3 to the people of Galveston:
See our previous post, Mapping Emancipation.
The House gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that hobbles the Racial Justice Act. The vote followed another lengthy debate on a day that drew a full House – literally, the entire House of Representatives showed up. The vote was 73 to 47 along party lines, with five conservative Democrats breaking ranks to vote with Republicans.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. Last year, Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed a bill that was meant to torpedo the Racial Justice Act, which allows death-row inmates to use statistical proof of widespread racial bias in North Carolina capital case prosecutions to convert their sentence to life in prison without parole.
The Senate overrode the veto, but the House didn’t have the votes to try. This new attempt at getting rid of the 2009 law was fashioned as a compromise, worked out in private, aimed at convincing the conservative Democrats to break ranks.
The votes on Tuesday and Wednesday show the House has the 72 votes needed for an override, if Perdue vetoes this bill.
An online petition drive has been started: Maintain the Racial Justice Act.
Update, June 19:
I am a member of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, and with my fellow members have borne witness to the outrageous, cruel injustice of losing a family member to murder. I have also borne witness with them to the outrageous, cruel injustice of sentencing anyone to death as a consequence of racial discrimination.
I grew up in Fayetteville, and remember signs in downtown theaters directing African-Americans to the balcony, and the prominent Ku Klux Klan billboard out on U.S. 301. We can celebrate the progress we have made since then, and we can work to eliminate the remnants of that legacy that persist. There is no more shameful legacy in our state than the racial bias that has infected our use of capital punishment, and the evidence that it persists to this day. All people of good will and conscience are committed to end this bias, once and for all. [more…]
Harriet Beecher Stowe, born this in date in 1811, followed her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), with her nonfiction book A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853). She explains the reason for writing A Key:
At different times, doubt has been expressed -whether the representations of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” are a fair representation of slavery as it at present exists…. The writer acknowledges that the book is a very inadequate representation of slavery; and it is so, necessarily, for this reason,— that slavery, in some of its workings, is too dreadful for the purposes of art. A work which should represent it strictly as it is would be a work which could not be read. And all works which ever mean to give pleasure must draw a veil somewhere, or they cannot succeed.
William Meade (1789-1862) was elected Assistant bishop of Virginia in 1829. He became the third bishop of Virginia at the death of Bishop Moore in 1841 and served as diocesan until own death in 1862.
Stowe and Meade intersect in A Key. In A Key we do not see the Meade who was troubled by slavery, who implored his recalcitrant clergy to evangelize the enslaved and who was a leading member of the American Colonization Society. Meade’s portrait is not as simple as that. Meade was a prolific writer and this is the Meade that Stowe knows. She writes,
Concerning the absolute authority of the master, take the following extract from Bishop Mead’s sermon. (Brooke’s Slavery, pp. 30. 31, 32.)
Having thus shown you the chief duties you owe to your great Master in heaven, I now come to lay before you the duties you owe to your masters and mistresses here upon earth; and for this you have one general rule that you ought always to carry in your minds, and that is, to do all service for them as if you did it for God himself. Poor creatures! you little consider, when you are idle and neglectful of your masters’ business, when you steal and waste and hurt any of their substance, when you are saucy and impudent, when you are telling them lies and deceiving them; or when you prove stubborn and sullen, and will not do the work you are set about without stripes and vexation; you do not consider, I say, that what faults you are guilty of towards your masters and mistresses are faults done against God himself, who hath set your masters and mistresses over you in his own stead, and expects that you will do for them just as you would do for Him. And, pray, do not think that I want to deceive you when I tell you that your masters and mistresses are God’s overseers; and that, if you are faulty towards them, God himself will punish you severely for it in the next world, unless you repent of it, and strive to make amends by your faithfulness and diligence for the time to come; for God himself hath declared the same.
Now, from this general rule, — namely, that you are to do all service for your masters and mistresses as if you did it for God himself, — there arise several other rules of duty towards your masters and mistresses, which I shall endeavor to lay out in order before you.
And, in the first place, you are to be obedient and subject to your masters in all things.
And Christian ministers are commanded to “exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering them again, or gainsaying.” [Titus 2:9.] You see how strictly God requires this of you, that whatever your masters and mistresses order you to do, you must set about it immediately, and faithfully perform it, without any disputing or grumbling, and take care to please them well in all things. And for your encouragement he tells you that he will reward you for it in heaven; because, while you are honestly and faithfully doing your master’s business here, you are serving your Lord and Master in heaven. You see also that you aro not to take any exceptions to the behavior of your masters and mistresses; and that you are to be subject and obedient, not only to such as are good, and gentle, and mild, towards you, but also to such as may be froward, peevish, and hard. For you are not at liberty to choose your own masters; but into whatever hands God hath been pleased to put you, you must do your duty, and God will reward you for it.
. . . .
You are to be faithful and honest to your masters and mistresses, not purloining or wasting their goods or substance, but showing all good fidelity in all things…. Do not your masters, under God, provide for you? And how shall they be able to do this, to feed and to clothe you, unless you take honest care of everything that belongs to them? Remember that God requires this of you; and, if you are not afraid of suffering for it here, you cannot escape the vengeance of Almighty God, who will judge between you and your masters, and make you pay severely in the next world for all the injustice you do them here. And though you could manage so cunningly as to escape the eyes and hands of man, yet think what a dreadful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, who is able to cast both soul and body into hell!
You are to serve your masters with cheerfulness, reverence, and humility. You are to do your masters” service with good will, doing it as the will of God from the heart, without any sauciness or answering again. IIow many of you do things quite otherwise, and, instead of going about your work with a good will and a good heart, dispute and grumble, give saucy answers, and behave in a surly manner! There is something so becoming and engaging in a modest, cheerful, good-natured behavior, that a little work done in that manner seems better done, and gives far more satisfaction, than a great deal more, that must be done with fretting, vexation, and the lash always held over you. It also gains the good will and love of those you belong to, and makes your own life pass with more ease and pleasure. Besides, you are to consider that this grumbling and ill-will do not affect your masters and mistresses only. They have ways and means in their hands of forcing you to do your work, whether you are willing or not. But your murmuring and grumbling is against God, who hath placed you in that service, who will punish you severely in the next world for despising his commands.
A very awful query here occurs to the mind. If the poor, ignorant slave, who wastes his master’s temporal goods to answer some of his own present purposes, be exposed to this heavy retribution, what will become of those educated men, who, for their temporal convenience, make and hold in force laws which rob generation after generation of men, not only of their daily earnings, but of all their righte and privileges as immortal beings? Read the rest of this entry »
Emancipation did not begin or end during the Civil War with Lincoln’s Emancipation Declaration. This is the underlying message of a project of the University of Richmond, Visualizing Emancipation. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
Edward L. Ayers, a historian and president of the University of Richmond, calls the emancipation of slaves during the Civil War “the least-understood social transformation in American history.” A new interactive map he helped build shows that emancipation didn’t occur in one moment, he says, but was “an unfolding,” happening from the very first years of the war to the very last. And, he adds, it happened because of African-Americans, not merely for them, or to them.
“Looking at the map, there’s no single event that you can point to and say, ‘Emancipation happened here,’” Mr. Ayers said. “But in the absence of the defining moment, you start to see patterns of how African-Americans helped the Union and followed the paths of the armies and fought for their own emancipation. Here, the emancipated people appear as key players in their own stories, not told through the eyes of someone else.”
Now that the map is published online, Mr. Ayers and Mr. Nesbit are inviting the public and members of other universities to contribute more information from primary texts. So far, they have received about 12 submissions.
From the earliest forays of the Union forces into the South, slaves used the opportunity to seek their freedom. And Union officers de facto emancipated slaves with the president’s approval:
Union troops in the field, meanwhile, were unsure what to do with African Americans who escaped slavery by crossing into Union lines. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 required that they be returned to their owners, and this is exactly what a Confederate colonel demanded when three of his slaves fled to Fort Monroe [Virginia] in May 1861. [General Benjamin F.] Butler ordered that because Virginia had seceded from the Union, its citizens could no longer claim the protection of U.S. laws. Furthermore, he argued, because these particular slaves had been helping to construct fieldworks, they should be considered “contraband of war” and defined as property with military value. Lincoln approved, and in August, Congress passed the First Confiscation Act. It declared free all slaves being used directly in the Confederate war effort. When another Union general, John C. Frémont, attempted to go further than that—on August 30, he ordered emancipated all Missouri slaves owned by active Confederates—he was overruled.
Like the Confiscation Act, the Emancipation Proclamation was not intended as a purely benevolent act towards the slaves. Lincoln calculated that the Northern electorate was ready to support the abolition of slavery in the South as a device to bring the war to a conclusion. The proclamation exempted the slave holding states not in the Confederacy. And it gave states in the Confederacy the same opportunity to be exempt if they quit the Confederacy by January 1, 1863.
Visualizing Emancipation cannot be appreciated without a visit to the website.
Added June 15, The Root: When Were Blacks Truly Freed From Slavery?
Though President Abraham Lincoln ended slavery with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, slaves in Texas had no knowledge of their freedom until two and a half years later. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston and declared the end of the Civil War, withGeneral Granger reading aloud a special decree that ordered the freeing of some 200,000 slaves in the state.
Because of the delay, many African Americans started a tradition of celebrating the actual day slavery ended on June 19 (also known as Juneteenth). But for some, their cheers were short-lived. Thanks to the South’s lucrative prison labor system and a deceptive practice called debt peonage, a kind of neo-slavery continued for some blacks long into the 1940s. The question then arises: When did African Americans really claim their freedom?
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II by Japanese troops, Roosevelt signed Circular No. 3591 (pdf), giving teeth to the Anti-Peonage Law of 1867, which criminalized the practice. Dispatching a federal investigation, Roosevelt’s team prosecuted guilty whites and effectively ended peonage in 1942. …
One of the projects the Committee on Race and Reconciliation has embarked upon is a study of slave ownership by the clergy of the Diocese. The study uses as its starting point the U.S. Census of 1860, and the companion Slave Schedules, matched with the list of clergy of the diocese in 1860. The diocese at the time covered all of present day Virginia and West Virginia.
There were some holes in our study, and today I went back to look for the Rev. Aristides Spyker Smith listed in the clergy directory as the Rev. Aristides Smith, Principal of the Norfolk Female Seminary, a private school not a theological seminary. We’d not previously found him in the 1860 U.S. Census, but today I did. Ancestry.com transcribes his first name as Austides which is perhaps why we’d located him before.
According to the census, the family lived in Norfolk County and Aristides was the head of household. His occupation is given as P.E. Clergyman and school teacher. Three other Smiths, all in their twenties, resided in the house. The two eldest were school teachers, both male. No occupation is given for the youngest, Ellen. The household also employed a white female servant, aged 16.
We’ve found most clergy in the Diocese of Virginia owned or rented at least one slave. These would not be listed by name on the U.S. Census, but rather listed under the owner’s name under the Slave Schedule. I have not found anyone on the Norfolk County Slave Schedule who is a likely or possible match with Aristides.
However, with a name as unusual as Aristides it pays to do surf the internet. It turns out that during his lifetime Aristides did rent and sell slaves:
Harrison and Smith family papers, 1857-2005
The Harrison and Smith family of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina included Aristides Spyker Smith (1809-1892), an Presbyterian and Episcopal minister and principal of women’s schools in Virginia and Mississippi. Smith’s sons were Jonathan Reynolds (Johnnie) Smith (1836-1862) and Leonidas Wilkinson Smith (1835-1864). Also included was Smith’s daughter Ellen Alice Smith Harrison (b. 1840), her husband George Harrison (fl. 1852-1875), their daughter Sarah Walton Harrison (1868?-1891) and her husband Paul Garrett (1863-1940), and their son Aristides Smith Harrison (b. 1864) and his wife Katie Wilson Curtis, a daughter of George B. Curtis (1834-1920) of Biddeford, Maine, who traveled to Colorado in search of gold and adventure (ca. 1856), returning east and settling in Enfield, N.C. He opened a general store, and later a bank and a cotton business.
… items include a southern business directory used by Aristides Smith as a scrapbook; tax-in-kind receipts from the Confederate government; receipts for the rental and sale of slaves; notebooks of Aristides Smith on mathematics and astronomy…
More about Aristides Spyker Smith:
- Obituary that appeared in the Obituary Record of Yale University 1892
- In his book, Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908 (2010), Gregory P. Downs reports that as late as 1882 Smith “proclaimed that Southerners were still ‘His chosen people.'”
- Ashley Michelle Mays writes in her 2010 MA thesis “To Suffer in Silence”: Confederate Widows’ Grieving Processes After the Civil War (pdf), “Aristides Spyker Smith preached a sermon entitled “On Keeping the Heart,” which preserved Confederate virility in the hearts if not the actions of the South, nearly five times in 1866, but after that its use tapered dramatically.”
On June 12, 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Loving v. Virginia. Once again, Encyclopedia Virginia has the story:
In the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriages in the United States. At one time, as many as forty-one states had such prohibitions. Virginia’s law had been passed in 1691and, after being amended several times, reached its final version in the Racial Integrity Act, passed by the Virginia General Assembly on March 20, 1924. Although every state with such a law banned marriage between a white person and an African American, some laws, including Virginia’s, went further and prohibited marriage between whites and other non-white ethnic groups such as Asians and Native Americans. Loving v. Virginia was a landmark case, both in the history of race relations in the United States and in the ongoing political and cultural dispute over the proper definition of marriage.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the courtroom came when Cohen quoted Richard Loving as saying, “Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”
A unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s law, stating that to deny the “fundamental freedom” of marriage “on so unsupportable a basis” as race “is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.”
Over time, marriages between whites and African Americans became both more numerous and more accepted. Same-sex marriages, meanwhile, became more disputed, with gay rights activists attempting to use Loving v. Virginia as a precedent in their favor. The courts have preferred reading the case strictly in terms of race, although in 2007 the group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, or GLAD, released a statement that attributed to Mildred Loving support for same-sex marriage. After her death, the Loving family denied that she held these views. Richard Loving died in 1975, and Mildred Loving died in 2008.
Read it all.
Encyclopedia Virginia has a great twitter account, @TodayInVa. My favorite are their links to events on this day in history. For Virginia those events so often surround fights for liberty whether it’s the Revolutionary War, the Civil War or the Civil Rights Era.
June 6, 1963 marks the Danville civil rights demonstrations. Here’s a portion of the account of those events provided by Encyclopedia Virginia:
- May 31, 1963 – A few weeks after well-publicized demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, protests led by two members of the Danville Christian Progressive Association begin in Danville. The demonstrators seek the participation of blacks in municipal government and services and the hiring of blacks in downtown white businesses.
- June 5, 1963 – Danville Christian Progressive Association protesters march into City Hall and occupy the city manager’s office.
- June 6, 1963 – Two hundred people demonstrate at the Danville Municipal Building. Danville Corporation Court Judge Archibald M. Aiken Jr. indicts three demonstration leaders for “conspiring to incite the colored population of the State to acts of violence and war against the white population,” an 1859 statute enacted after John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.
- June 10, 1963 – A prayer vigil for those arrested earlier in the day for participating in the Danville civil rights demonstrations is met with violence as police and deputized garbage men attack the vigil with clubs and fire hoses, injuring forty-seven.
- June 17, 1963 – Trials begin for those arrested in the Danville civil rights demonstrations. The U.S. Justice Department issues a brief that strongly criticizes Judge Archibald M. Aiken Jr.’s courtroom procedures.