Virginia State Capitol

Historical Significance

Virginia's state capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1785. In part prompted by the Nat Turner rebellion, the General Assembly spent much of its December 1831 session debating the possible abolition of slavery. Governor John Floyd hoped that the rebellion would convince the legislature to gradually abolish slavery. Contrary to Floyd's wishes, the legislature enacted more stringent slave laws and attempted to suppress Abolitionist writings.

Multiple events occurred in the capitol during the Jim Crow and segregation eras. During the Civil War, the building was the center of the Confederate South's capital in Richmond. In 1901, a convention of elected delegates met in the capitol to consider a new state constitution. Among its goals was the disfranchisement of blacks. During the 1950's the General Assembly enacted laws to keep the public institutions of Virginia racially segregated, defying the U.S. Supreme Court decisions to the contrary. And finally, with the defeat of Massive Resistance programs, the capitol saw many minority leaders pass through its doors, including Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder, the state's first elected black governor.

The Virginia State Capitol was added to the National Historic Landmarks Register on December 19, 1960, and to the Virginia Landmarks Register on November 5, 1968. 

Physical Description

No Physical Description Available

Geographical and Contact Information

1000 Bank Street
Richmond, Virginia
23219
Phone: 804-698-1788

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Virginia State Capitol,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed December 11, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/465.

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