Virginians and their Histories – Brent Tarter Interview, Part 3

Writing Virginia’s history has a long history itself reaching back to the 17th century. Telling those stories has evolved and expanded in various ways during the past 400 years reflecting differing angles, viewpoints, and ideologies. Brent Tarter’s work is part of that long history, and he adds a new volume in which he attempts to give voice to those differing angles and viewpoints.

The volume in focus is entitled Virginians and Their Histories, a title meant to highlight the people who make Virginia’s story what it is. Tarter draws from decades worth of research work to bring this book together. It’s such a work that when Mr. Tarter and I discussed doing an interview, it soon became apparent that one recording wouldn’t do his work justice. To that end, here is the third installment, which covers the end of the Civil War period up until contemporary times.



  1. Batson, Barbara C., Julienne, Marianne E., and Tarter, J. Brent. The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia (American Heritage). Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2020.
  2. Tarter, J. Brent.Virginians and Their Histories.Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2020.
  3. Tarter, J. Brent.Gerrymanders: How Redistricting Has Protected Slavery, White Supremacy, and Partisan Minorities in Virginia.Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2019
  4. Tarter, J. Brent. The Grandees of Government: The Origins and Persistence of Undemocratic Politics in Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2013.
  5. Tarter, J. Brent ed. and Billings, Warren M. ed.  “Esteemed Bookes of Lawe” and the Legal Culture of Early Virginia (Early American Histories. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2017.
  6. Tarter, J. Brent. A Saga of the New South: Race, Law, and Public Debt in Virginia.Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2016.
  7. Tarter, J. Brent. Daydreams and Nightmares: A Virginia Family Faces Secession and War (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era). Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2017.
  8. The Dictionary of Virginia Biography at the Library of Virginia.





All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Brent Tarter’s Virginians and Their Histories.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Six Gnossiennes: Gnossienne No. 5 by Erik Satie, performed by Roland Pöntinen, also available on Apple Music.

The Cainan Townsend Interview

A few months ago 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution and I discussed doing some work together, and when I saw Mr. Townsend’s name on the shortlist of potential interviews, I knew that I wanted to connect with him.

Cainan is the Education Director at the R.R. Moton Museum in Farmville, VA, which was once a segregated school during the period before desegregation. Cainan had personal connections to the historic events that took place there in 1951 in that he is the great-grandson of John Townsend, one of the students who followed 16 year old Barbara Johns out of the school in protest.

Once Cainan began showing me around the Museum, I knew that this interview was going to be spectacular, and it certainly was. His clear and thorough understanding of the 1951 protest, as well as the events which unfolded throughout Virginia and influenced the country are captivating. I trust you, reader, will agree after listening to this interview.

Barbara Rose Johns Powell, the courageous 16 year old who sparked a movement




  1. Paterson, James T. Brown vs. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  2. Smith, Bob. They Closed Their Schools: Prince Edward County, VA 1951-1964. Farmville, VA: Robert Russa Moton Museum, 2008.
  3. Sullivan, Neil. Bound for Freedom. An Educator’s Adventures in Prince Edward County, Virginia.  Boston: Little Brown, 1965.
  4. R.R. Moton Museum – Farmville, Virginia.


  1. American Evolution 2019
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Cainan Townsend




All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of the Robert Russa Moton Museum located in Farmville, VA. All other images are from the exhibits located within the museum.

Music used for this episode – Gnossienne No. 2 by Erik Satie performed by the Empire Brass Quintet, available on iTunes.