RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON PETERSBURG HISTORY

 

 

Ronald Seagrave, The Early Artisans and Mechanics of Petersburg Virginia, 1607-1860: The Building of a Multi-cultural Maritime Community, Outskirts Press Inc.: Denver, CO, 2010

"The Early Artisans and Mechanics of Petersburg Virginia is a lavishly illustrated exploration of one the South’s most historically significant cities."  Seagrave’s meticulous research is evident in the copious reprints of images, documents, and artifacts that illuminate the history of Petersburg as a "multicultural maritime community."  It is an exceedingly rich resource for Petersburg’s remarkable local history as a center of commerce and culture.

 

 

L. Diane Barnes, Artisan Workers in the Upper South: Petersburg, Virginia, 1820-1865, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.

Barnes shows antebellum Petersburg to be "one of the most industrialized cities of the upper South....a bustling modern city" that succeeded because of the skilled labor its enslaved residents. She examines "the relationships between Petersburg's skilled white, free black, and slave mechanics and the roles they played in southern Virginia's emerging market economy." She illustrates how "slave-owning mechanics, both white and black, gained wealth and status...[and] joined an emering middle class" in Petersburg while the contributions of enslaved mechanics undergirded the city's economic foundation.

 

 

 

Amina Luqman-Dawson, African Americans of Petersburg, Chaleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Luqman-Dawson has carefully compiled historic photographs that document the rich contributions of Petersburg residents to American history from the nation's oldest black church to the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. She asserts in her introduction that "Given the nuances and complexity of Petersburg rich African American history, this book in not intended to provide a comprehensive historical archive, but rather to documet and give face and form to many of the precious memories held and storied told by Petersburg's African American residents...Each of the nine chapters is a view into the incredible events, people, and places that make Petersburg a treasure in the history of Africans in America."

 

 

Shayla C. Nunnally, "Advantage, Agency, and Unret: Jim Crow, Disenfranchisement, and the Re-Politization of African Americans in Petersburg, Virginia, 1929-1952," Voices From Within the Veil, Alexander et. al. eds., Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

Nunnanlly argues that Petersburg is "an especially interesting context for which to assess the conditions and contributions of African Americans to Virginia's history" in her analysis of the political development of African Americans in Petersburg, inlcuding organizations like the Petersburg Civic Association, the Petersburg League of Negro Voters, and the Virginia Voter's League and their origins in black communal networks in the city.

 

 

Marie Tyler-McGraw, An African Republic: Black and White Virginians in the Making of Liberia, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

“The 19th-century American Colonization Society (ACS) project of persuading all American free blacks to emigrate to the ACS colony of Liberia could never be accomplished. Who supported African colonization and why? No state was more involved with the project than Virginia. Tyler-McGraw traces the parallel but seldom intersecting tracks of black and white Virginians' interests in African colonization. African colonization attracted aging revolutionaries, republican mothers and their daughters, bondpersons schooled and emancipated for Liberia, evangelical planters and merchants, urban free blacks, opportunistic politicians, Quakers, and gentlemen novelists. Tyler-McGraw follows the experiences of the emigrants from Virginia to Liberia, where some became the leadership class, consciously seeking to demonstrate black abilities, while others found greater hardship and early death.”

Tyler-McGraw's work undergirds the Virgina Emigrants to Liberia Project, a website that "includes a searchable database of nearly 3700 Virginia emigrants to Liberia and nearly 250 Virginia emancipators, a timeline of relevant events and documents between 1787 and 1866, a compilation of important related resources, links to related research websites and news of Liberia today."