"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Learn more about items related to commencement exercises in the VHS collections.

Van de Vyver Institute Diploma
Go Behind the Scenes at the Virginia Historical Society this Saturday 10/25/14 #vahistory #Miller&Rhoads #Thalhimers t.co/OD2MUaofng

Becoming Equal Gallery

Virtual Tour of the Becoming Equal gallery
Take a 360 degree tour of the Becoming Equal gallery of the Story of Virginia.
Nancy Langhorne Shaw Astor Enter Fullscreen More information
Nancy Langhorne Shaw Astor
Nancy Langhorne Shaw Astor by Edith Leeson Everett. Viscountess Astor (1879–1964) was the first woman to take a seat in the British House of Commons. Born in Danville, later she lived in Albemarle County, and in 1901 she married American expatriate Waldorf Astor and moved to England. In 1919 she won the seat in Parliament he had vacated upon being made a lord, and she held it for twenty-six years. Her causes were temperance, women's and children's welfare, and opposition to socialism. She once wrote, "To be a Virginian is a tremendous responsibility. So much is expected of us." (VHS Accession number 1972.23)
Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity poster Enter Fullscreen More information
Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity poster
The Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity promoted understanding among groups during the tensions of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. This poster was donated to the historical society by an Episcopal priest. Gift of Rev. Edward Meeks Gregory. (VHS accession number 1992.82.2)
Lila (Meade) Valentine Enter Fullscreen More information
Lila (Meade) Valentine
Lila (Meade) Valentine (1865–1921), president of the Equal Suffrage League, championed causes of health and education reform. Ironically, she never cast a ballot. Too ill to go to the polls in 1920, she died without ever exercising the franchise. (VHS accession number: 1983.80)
Brochure, Remember May 17th Enter Fullscreen More information
Brochure, Remember May 17th
The cover of this 1955 NAACP Freedom Day brochure, "Remember May 17th, Fight Segregation with Freedom Dollars," depicts the hand of the Statue of Liberty holding a torch. The brochure was printed to promote membership in NAACP in observance of the first anniversary of the May 17, 1954, Supreme Court decision which held public school segregation unconstitutional. The back cover of the brochure features a photo of the U.S. Supreme Court. (VHS accession number 1996.46.1.1-34)
Proud American Day program, front Enter Fullscreen More information
Proud American Day program, front
Carter Godwin Woodson (1875–1950) is shown on the cover of this 1958 program for "Negro History Week" along with Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915. The next year he founded The Journal of Negro History. In 1926 he began Negro History Week (now Black History Month). He wrote many books and is acknowledged as the "Father of Black History." (VHS accession number: 2000.65)
Proud American Day program, back Enter Fullscreen More information
Proud American Day program, back
L. Douglas Wilder campaign poster Enter Fullscreen More information
L. Douglas Wilder campaign poster
Lawrence Douglas Wilder was born on January 17, 1931, in Richmond, Virginia. The grandson of slaves, he was named after abolitionist-orator Frederick Douglass and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. On January 13, 1990, L. Douglas Wilder became Virginia's sixty-sixth governor. He was the first elected African American governor in United States history.
Equal Suffrage League rally Enter Fullscreen More information
Equal Suffrage League rally
Rabbi Edward N. Calisch, calling granting women the right to vote "a matter of simple justice," addressed the Equal Suffrage League on the steps of the Virginia capitol on May 1, 1915. (VHS accession number: 2001.230.1924.A-B)
Oliver Hill Enter Fullscreen More information
Oliver Hill
Oliver White Hill (1907–2007) became Richmond's first African American city councilman in the twentieth century. From 1940 to 1961 he led the Virginia legal team of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), including work on the 1954 case that resulted in a ban on legally mandated segregated schools. (VHS accession number: 2003.298.17)
Virtual tour of the Becoming Equal gallery
Virtual Tour of the Becoming Equal gallery
Nancy Langhorne Shaw Astor
Nancy Langhorne Shaw Astor
Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity poster
Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial
Lila (Meade) Valentine
Lila (Meade) Valentine
Brochure, Remember May 17th
Brochure, Remember May 17th
Proud American Day program, front
Proud American Day program, front
Proud American Day program, back
Proud American Day program, back
L. Douglas Wilder campaign poster
L. Douglas Wilder campaign poster
Equal Suffrage League rally
Equal Suffrage League rally
Oliver Hill
Oliver Hill