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Africans, African Americans, and the Roots of Virginia Culture

For African Americans, the history of Virginia has always been replete with paradox and irony. Virginia, the place where Africans first landed as slaves, was also the place where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson dreamed a nation into being around the ideal of human freedom, even though they owed their own wealth to the appropriated labor, skills, and expertise of Africans and their descendants. African Americans availed themselves of opportunities that followed upon the bloody Civil War. But after a brief period of promised prosperity came the introduction of Jim Crow laws that denied them voting rights and access to education. At the

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