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ABOUT THIS PHOTO
Students and their teacher at the “Bear Mountain Indian Mission School” on the Monacan settlement near Bear Mountain in Amherst County, 1914. Amateur photographer and educational reformer Henry Jackson Davis (1882–1947) took this photo as well as approximately 6,000 others in the early 20th century to document the poor conditions of rural schools in marginalized African-American and Native American communities. The Native Americans had called what is now Central Virginia home for thousands of years before European exploration began in earnest in the late 1500s, Their settlements included villages large and small throughout the Piedmont and the Mountains. Despite the efforts of long-standing Jim Crow-era legislation aimed at denying their existence, the Monacan people managed to preserve their identity and culture. They were at last officially recognized as a Tribal Nation by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1989, but not by the U.S. Government until 2018. (photo is courtesy of the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia).

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