RVA50 Object 32 “Address To The People Of Richmond, 1889″

“Address To The People Of Richmond,” 1889


In the late 1870s the politics of Virginia was sharply divided over the issue of the state’s pre Civil War debt.  Out of this fracas political environment rose the Readjuster Party – a biracial coalition formed in the post Reconstruction period.

The party was led by Harrison Riddleberger, an attorney from the Valley of Virginia, and by former Confederate General William Mahone.  This broadside is an open letter to the people of Richmond signed by four politicians attempting to encourage support for the Readjuster Party platform.

The Readjusters lost effective control of state government in 1883 when they lost majority control in the state legislature.  The election of Fitzhugh Lee in 1885 led to the collapse of the party and ushered in the era of “Jim Crow” – the racial laws, customs, and etiquette that arose following the end of Reconstruction and that stayed in effect until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Valentine Richmond History Center Collection, 1948