George W. Zuban, Jr. — Honors in History
From Relationships to Rights: Slaves, Freedmen, and the Push for Equality in Prince Edward County, Virginia
The development of African-American culture in Prince Edward County, Virginia is unique to Prince Edward County. Part of this culture is an expectation and striving for racial equality. Most obviously, the fight for educational integration was the fruition of this expectation. My paper explores the development of this cultural tradition of fighting racial oppression. Starting with Israel Hill, a settlement of freedmen within Prince Edward, fighting during the Jim Crow period, and then with the educational desegregation battle, I suggest that Prince Edward’s black population has developed an expectation of educational equality. Prince Edward is unique because there was a large population of freedmen interacting with whites, developing an anticipation of equality from the African-Americans. They fight for their rights through Jim Crow, and then gain the chance for equal education by the Supreme Court. Prince Edward’s black population warrants study, and it is my hope that this paper adds to existing research on the matter.