The Ground Beneath Our Feet
New Deal Virginia Reconfiguring Virginia Massive Resistance Virginia Fights: World War Two The Horse: A Silent Hero of Our History
A documentary film series and website about Virginia's history after the Civil War
Episode 5   The Horse: A Silent Hero of Our History is the story of the horse in America. It is a story the horse cannot tell, and one that historians have neglected. Ever since the first colonists arrived in Jamestown, horses have been vital to human survival. Horses helped us farm, carried us to explore the frontier, and pulled our barges and wagons and trains. Horse carried on their backs the first great superstars of American sport-jockeys-who were predominately African-American in the early years. Horse played a prominent role in our wars: more horses than men died in the Civil War. Though the transportation revolution changed some of the ways we use horses, there are still people who rely on horses to pull logs out of the mountains of Virginia. Though the military no longer uses horses in battle, there have been close connections between the military and show horses. This web site presents substantial excerpts from the script for the television documentary that was first shown in October, 2002 on certain public broadcasting stations in Virginia.
Episode 4   Virginia Fights: World War II explores the transformative changes that Virginia experienced in World War II. Virginia mobilized hundreds of thousands of citizens during World War II and became the home base for a host of navy, army munitions, and defense industries. Virginia's soldiers fought in the Pacific and landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. This two-part film (one hour) follows the stories of everyday Virginians, those who fought at D-Day and those who patrolled Virginia beaches, worked in the munition plants, flew missions in Europe, and fell in love during the war. This site contains the image archive for the film--over 1,600 images of Virginia or Virginians in World War II.
Episode 3   Massive Resistance became Virginia's policy to prevent school desegregation in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Many of Virginia's white leaders resisted integration with all of their considerable political and legal means. The story of massive resistance and of black Virginians' protests against segregation began in the early 1950s and continues today. This two-part film (one hour) traces the history of massive resistance in Virginia and considers some of its legacies. "Massive Resistance" was an Emmy Nominee in 2000 of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and will be shown nationally on PBS in February 2002 for Black History Month.
Episode 2   Reconfiguring Virginia explores the sectional crisis of 1860-61 in Virginia and the splitting of the commonwealth into two states--Virginia and West Virginia--during the Civil War. The film (30 minutes) and web site use letters, diaries, newspapers, and interactive maps to document how Virginia's secession led to its division.
Episode 1   New Deal Virginia explores two significant changes in Virginia history: the creation of Shenandoah National Park and the electrification of rural Virginia. Both stories trace the effects of the federal government on the lives of everyday rural Virginians in the 1930s. Letters, maps, newspaper stories and teaching resources accompany this exploration and film (30 minutes).
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