The Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) was established by the General Assembly in 2020 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, the Revolutionary War, and the independence of the United States in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The history of the nation’s founding is inextricably linked to Virginia, and it can be argued that our Commonwealth is the birthplace of American democracy.
The U.S. Semiquincentennial in Virginia will focus on the revolutionary events of 1775 and 1776. Virginia’s history in America’s journey to independence is an inclusive, multicultural story that includes the roles of Native Americans, Africans and African Americans, Europeans, and Patriots and Loyalists. A primary goal of the VA250 Commission is to convene and facilitate a statewide commemoration and celebration, multi-faceted and inclusive of hundreds of partners and representatives of the wide array of histories, sites, stories, and communities that define Virginia. To learn more, visit VA250.org.
The VA250 Commission is made up of more than 20 members representing various organizations, tribal entities, and local and state agencies from across the Commonwealth, including DHR. As the State Historic Preservation Office, DHR’s mission is to foster the stewardship of Virginia’s significant historic and cultural resources. As the Semiquincentennial Commemoration in Virginia approaches, DHR looks forward to contributing to the VA250’s broader goal of preserving and recalling the stories of our collective past.
Commission on Historical Statues in the United States Capitol
The Commission on Historical Statues in the United States Capitol is charged with determining whether the Robert E. Lee statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States Capitol should be replaced (which it did recommend) and to recommend to the General Assembly as a replacement a statue of a prominent Virginia citizen of historic renown or renowned for distinguished civil or military service to be commemorated in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
The Commission on Historical Statues and DHR both share an interest in the preservation and commemoration of historical figures and their contributions. While the Commission focuses specifically on evaluating and recommending statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection, DHR’s mission to steward Virginia’s historic resources aligns with the Commission’s goal to select a replacement statue representing a prominent Virginia citizen with a notable historical legacy or distinguished service.
Virginia Indian Advisory Board
In 2016, the General Assembly passed HB 814 directing the Secretary of the Commonwealth to establish a Virginia Indian advisory board “to assist the Secretary in reviewing applications seeking recognition as a Virginia Indian tribe and to make recommendations to the Secretary, the Governor, and the General Assembly on such applications and other matters relating to recognition”.
Unlike other advisory boards, this board does not advise the Governor, Secretary, or General Assembly on any matters other than groups’ state recognition applications.
DHR Director Julie Langan serves as an Ex-Officio member of the Virginia Indian Advisory Board.
The Green Book in Virginia
Victor Hugo Green, a letter carrier from New York, published the Green Book from 1936 to 1967. The book was a guide to hotels, restaurants, guest houses, service stations, drug stores, and other businesses known to be safe for traveling Black Americans during the Jim Crow era, when many establishments refused to admit Black people or served them on an unequal basis. The 1938 edition of the Green Book was the first in which Virginia businesses were listed.
DHR’s initiatives related to the Green book include:
- Supplementary plaques for historical highway markers
- A list of Green Book locations in Virginia
- A historic context and architectural survey of Green Book properties