Virginia: A Commonwealth Comes of Age
Chapter 3: The War Between the States
...Virginia was a microcosm of the national miasma. Divided by sectional differences, the state engaged in debate over internal improvements and slavery, as well as free schools and political representation. Like the industrial Northeast, western Virginia’s small-farm economy needed no slave labor. While 55 percent of the state’s white population lived west of the Blue Ridge, only 13 percent of its slaves did... A year before the war, 75 percent of the state legislators were slaveowners.
Chapter 6: Virginia’s Wild West Boom Towns
America’s westward expansion with its gold rushes, mining towns, gunplay, and intercontinental railroads has always captured the popular imagination. During the same period, from 1880 to 1900, Virginia’s own west was booming as railroads drove deep into the mountains to exploit a vast wealth of timber and coal.
Chapter 7: The Dual Economy
...Where slavery had forced blacks into servitude, post-emancipation discrimination almost as strongly enforced their subordination. While life’s basic necessities had been provided under a system that simultaneously permitted harsh treatment, suppression, and hard work for little or no compensation, emancipation invited blacks to provide for themselves under an unwritten code that placed them as the lowest social and economical rungs of a society which defined racial equality in its own terms.
Chapter 8: Roaring Twenties, Whispering Thirties
...Along with the nation, Virginia roared with the Twenties. Bridge parties, suspended during the war, were all the rage. Even the slightest occasion was an excuse for a party for which revelers donned togas, medieval garb or other thematic costumes. Country clubs were on the rise, and in the horse country of Albemarle County, hunt clubs were the choice of the local gentry...