HomeGeneral ResourcesResearch TopicsVII. Post - Civil War

VII. Post - Civil War

The Freedmen’s Bureau - a federal government agency established by the War Department in 1865 to assist the formerly enslaved by providing relief, land, jobs, and education.  

Reconstruction - The period (1865-1877) during which the states that had seceded to the Confederacy were controlled by the federal government before being readmitted to the Union.   

Jim Crow Era -  In 1877 the US Supreme Court interpreted that it was lawful for states to instigate segregation on public transportation. In 1883 the US Supreme Court made it lawful for states to institute “separate but equal” accommodations such as schools, churches, parks, etc. “Jim Crow” Laws existed until the middle of the Twentieth Century.  

Civil Rights Movement - The national effort made by Blacks and their supporters in the 1950s and 1960s to eliminate segregation and gain equal rights.  


Black Settlement in Fairfax County, During Reconstruction by Andrew M.D Wolf  

Northern Virginia History Note, Online By Debbie Robison  

A union of church and state: The Freedmen's Bureau and the education of African Americans in Virginia from 1865–1871 by Aaron Jason Butler (2013). Dissertations, Theses, and Master’s Projects. Paper 1539618383.  

“The Freedmen’s Bureau and School at Fairfax Courthouse”  by William Page Johnson II  The Fare Facs Gazette The Newsletter of Historic Fairfax City, Inc. Vol. 13   Issue 4   Fall 2016 

“The First Black Voting in Virginia” by Brent Tartar  

The Ku Klux Klan in Fairfax County

In 1867, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was organized in Fairfax County for the “maintenance and supremacy of the white race.” When blacks voted for the first time, white men targeted the blacks for not voting the way the whites expected.  The Klan did not survive for long in Virginia when newspapers began to condemn the violence exhibited by the Klan. 

The Klan was reorganized in Virginia in 1915 because of the many changes in the state: the decline of rural life, the increase in immigration, economic hardships, and the increased recognition of the accomplishments of blacks.  Large crowds attended the KKK initiations and ceremonies of white robed men who carried torches and burned crosses.  A local black leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Edwin B. Henderson received threatening phone calls and death threats in letters. Later, a resurgence of the KKK occurred during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Listed below is a sample of headlines from local newspapers about the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Fairfax County during the 1920s.


Virginia Museum of History and Culture - The World of Jim Crow   

Civil Rights Movement Timeline, Key Events and Leaders   

For Young Readers About Jim Crow Laws    

Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Tonya Bolden. Real life narratives share the experiences of African Americans during periods of discrimination and segregation.  

The Rise of the Jim Crow Era edited by Maria Hussey   

Unequal Access: The Desegregation of Public Libraries in Northern Virginia, by Barbuschak and LaPierre   

Fairfax County Public Library Black History Resources  

Black Civic Organizations  

History of the Fairfax County Branch of the NAACP by E.B. Henderson 

Neighbors for a Better Community by Mary S. Gardiner  

Colored Citizens Association Fairfax County, VA. 30th Anniversary 1928-1941 Booklet, original found in the Mary Goins Roots Collection, MSS 07-26