Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




The purpose of this study is to investigate the lives, accomplishments, and struggles of the black community in Norfolk, Virginia, between the years of 1861 and 1884, from the black perspective.;The integration of documents with statistics to uncover the mentalite of blacks is the focus of this study's research. The black community of this period was not always reactive, but active in determining its own fate. Even during slavery, Norfolk's blacks took an active role in their destiny through participation in the Underground Railroad.;This study suggests that blacks strove diligently to work with, and in some cases, conciliate, the white oligarchy. Unfortunately, their efforts met with resistance and defeat. Despite these difficulties, the black community pulled together to assist its members as the whites unified to subjugate them.;The results of the investigation suggest that had blacks continued to be politically active, Norfolk would have had an economically prosperous black community. Instead, the introduction of Jim Crow laws served to oppress blacks economically and produce a sense of hopelessness, socially and politically.



© The Author