Monday, March 7, 2022

Episode 619 (3-7-22): Water Places in U.S. Civil Rights History (Episode Four of the Series “Exploring Water in U.S. Civil Rights History”)

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:24).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-4-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 7, 2022.  This episode is the fourth in a series of episodes on water in U.S. civil rights history.

MUSIC – ~16 sec – instrumental.

That’s part of “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight,” in an instrumental version by Chloe Benner and Stewart Scales.  This was a popular song during the U.S. Civil War, when the Potomac was a key border between the Union and Confederacy.  One hundred years after the end of that war, on March 7, 1965, the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River at Selma, Alabama, was the scene of an attempted march for voting rights that was violently halted by Alabama police; that event, which has become known as “Bloody Sunday,” was a key moment in U.S. civil rights history.  In this Water Radio episode, we note eight other water-related places in this country’s civil rights history.  For each place, a guest voice will call out the name, and then I’ll give a brief description of some civil rights history connections.  One:

VOICE - ~2 sec – “The James River.”

Virginia’s most famous river has been a focal point of indigenous tribes’ civilizations, the location of ante-bellum plantations, a route for transporting enlsaved people, an important strategic area during the Civil War, and a defining feature of the capital city Richmond throughout its complicated civil rights history.  Two:

VOICE - ~2 sec – “The Ohio River.”

Among its many historical aspects, the Ohio River was a boundary between slave states and free states for people using the Underground Railroad to escape slavery.  Three:

VOICE - ~4 sec – “Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina.”

The Dismal Swamp was refuge to thousands of African Americans fleeing slavery between the 1600s and the Civil War.  Four:

VOICE - ~2 sec – “Fort Monroe, Virginia.”

Located on the Chesapeake Bay where the first enslaved Africans were brought to Virginia in 1619, Fort Monroe served as a refuge for people escaping slavery during the Civil War.  Five:

VOICE - ~3 sec – “South Carolina sea islands.”

From 1862 to 1865, the “Port Royal Experiment” on South Carolina’s sea islands was an early attempt at reconstruction in the South, and it included African Americans purchasing land on plantations abandoned in the War.  Much of that land was returned to previous owners after the war, but some remained in African American families for generations.  Six:

VOICE - ~3 sec – “Seneca Falls, New York.”

Located on the Seneca River in New York’s Finger Lakes area, the village of Seneca Falls was the location in July 1848 of the first women’s rights convention in the United States.  Seven:

VOICE - ~2 sec – “Niagara Falls, Ontario.”

In 1905, due to race-based hotel restrictions in Buffalo, New York, the city on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls was the place where about 30 African American men, led by W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, organized the Niagara Movement to advocate for full civil rights for African Americans.  And eight:

VOICE - ~3 sec – “The Columbia River.”

The Columbia River in Washington State was the focal point of the first U.S. Supreme Court decision addressing Native American fishing rights, in the 1905 case U.S. vs. Winans. 

Thanks to Blacksburg friends for lending their voices to this introduction to some water-related geography of U.S. civil rights history.  Thanks also to Chloe Benner and Stewart Scales for this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight.”

MUSIC – ~20 sec – instrumental.


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The version of “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight” heard here was performed by Chloe Benner and Stewart Scales, used with permission.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 589, 8-9-21.  Information on “All Quiet Along the Potomac” and Ethel Beers, the author of the poem from which the song was derived, is available from Song of America, online at; and from Britannica Encyclopedia, online at

Thanks to four Blacksburg, Va., friends for calling out place names.

Thanks to Aaron Price, a student intern at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in spring 2021, for providing several of the references on the use of Dismal Swamp by people escaping slavery.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River at Selma, Ala., January 2008.

Historical markers beside the Edmund Pettus Bridge at Selma, Alabama, January 2008.

View of Richmond, Va., from the James River, downstream of the city, June 22, 2007.

Image of the program at the 1923 National Woman’s Party celebration of the 1848 Seneca Falls, N.Y., Convention.  Image 17 of Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers: Miscellany, 1840-1946, Library of Congress, accessed online at, 3-7-22.

Some of the founding members of the Niagara Movement at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, in 1905.  Photo accessed from the New York Public Library/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, Image 497501, online at, as of 3-7-22.


Used in Audio – Listed According to Place

On the Alabama River: 

Alabama Humanities Alliance, Encyclopedia of Alabama, “Selma to Montgomery March,” online at

United States Civil Rights Trail, “Edmund Pettus Bridge,” online at

On the Columbia River:

Casetext, “United States v. Winans,” online at

Congressional Research Service, “UPDATE: Extent of Habitat Protection Required for Indian Treaty Fishing Sites: Washington v. United States,” June12, 2018, online (as a PDF) at, “Supreme Court in U.S. v. Winans hands down first Native American fishing rights case in 1905,” by David Wilma, August 8, 2008, online at

LexisNexis, “United States v. Winans - 198 U.S. 371, 25 S. Ct. 662 (1905),” online at

Jay A. Sigler, Civil Rights in America: 1500 to the Present, Gale Research, Detroit, Mich., 1998, page 235. 

On Dismal Swamp:

Frederick Douglass, The Heroic Slave, John P. Jewett and Company, Boston, 1853; online at, page 192.

Frederick Douglass, December 8, 1850 lecture at Rochester, New York, online at 

Ted Maris-Wolfe, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Maroon Life and Labor in Virginia's Dismal Swamp,” Slavery & Abolition, Vol. 34, No. 3 (2013), pages 446-464; available online at

Sandy Hausman, Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom, National Public Radio (NPR), December 28, 2014. 

Daniel Sayers, A Desolate Place for a Defiant People: The Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp, 2014, accessed online through Florida Scholarship Online at this link.

Nina Shapiro-Perl and Beth Geglia, “Landscape of Power: Freedom and Slavery in the Great Dismal Swamp,” 2015, 19 min./55 sec. video, online at

Bland Simpson, The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1990.  Starts p. 69. 

Linton Weeks, “The Courage and Ingenuity of Freedom-seeking Slaves in America,” NPR History Department, February 24, 2015.

On Fort Monroe:

Holly Prestige, At Fort Monroe, the site where the first Africans were brought to America, a memorial is being built. A Richmond supper club is helping, Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 19, 2021.

Virginia Governor’s Office, Governor Northam Announces Fort Monroe Named Site of Memory Associated with UNESCO Slave Route Project, February 19, 2021, News Release.

Virginia Humanities, Encyclopedia Virginia, “Fort Monroe during the Civil War,” online at

On the James River:

James River Association, “James River History,” online at

Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, “African Presence in Virginia,” online at

Holly Prestidge, ‘A capital of hope’: Emancipation & Freedom Monument unveiled Wednesday at Brown's Island, Richmond Times Dispatch, September 22, 2021.

On Niagara Falls:, “Niagara Movement (1905-1909), online at

Oberlin College, “The Niagara Movement,” online at

On the Ohio River

Clermont County, Ohio, Parks District, “The Ohio River and the Underground Railroad,” online at

On the Potomac River:

Virginia Humanities, Encyclopedia Virginia, “The Potomac River during the Civil War,” by Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, undated, online at

On Seneca Falls, New York:

National Constitution Center, “On this day, the Seneca Falls Convention begins,” Constitution Daily, July 19, 2021, online at

Town of Seneca Falls, N.Y., “Origins of Our Name,” online at

On South Carolina sea islands:, “Port Royal Experiment (1862-1865),” online at

South Carolina Encyclopedia, “Port Royal Experiment,” onlne at

South Carolina Sea Grant, “Emancipation Day: The Freed People of Port Royal,” Coastal Heritage, Fall 2012, online at

For More Information about Civil Rights in the United States

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), “The Civil Rights Movement in America,” online at

Georgetown Law Library, “A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States,” online at

Howard University Law Library, “A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States,” online at 

University of Maryland School of Law/Thurgood Marshall Law Library, “Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights,” online at

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, online at

U.S. House of Representatives, “Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts of Congress Referenced in Black Americans in Congress,” online at

U.S. National Archives, “The Constitution of the United States,” online at

Virginia Museum of History and Culture, “Civil Rights Movement in Virginia,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “History” subject category.

This episode is part of the series, Exploring Water in U.S. Civil Rights History.  Following are links to the other episodes in the series, as of March 7, 2022.

Episode 566, 3-1-21 – Series overview.
Episode 591, 8-23-21 – Water Symbolism in African American Civil Rights History.
Episode 616, 2-14-22
– Uses of Water By and Against African Americans in U.S. Civil Rights History.

Following are links to some other previous episodes on the history of African Americans in Virginia.

Episode 128, 9-17-12 – on Chesapeake Bay Menhaden fishing crews and music.
Episode 458, 2-4-19
– on Nonesuch and Rocketts Landing in Richmond.
Episode 459, 2-11-19
– on Abraham Lincoln’s arrival in Richmond at the end of the Civil War.
Episode 479, 7-1-19 – on the Dismal Swamp, including information on its use as a refuge for people escaping slavery. 


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 History Theme
1.2 – Virginia history and life in present-day Virginia.
2.3 – Lives and contributions of the Powhatan, Lakota, and Pueblo peoples.

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
2.7 – Environment and culture of the Powhatan, Lakota, and Pueblo peoples.

Grades K-3 Civics Theme
1.13 – People of Virginia’s state and local government, contributions to communities, and diversity of ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, under a republican form of government with respect for individual rights and freedoms.
2.3 – Lives and culture of Powhatan, Lakota, and Pueblo peoples.
3.13 – People of America’s diversity of ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, under a republican form of government with respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – Impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.2 – Physical geography and native peoples of Virginia past and present.
VS.7 – Civil War issues and events, including the role of Virginia and the role of various ethnic groups.
VS.8 – Reconstruction era in Virginia, including “Jim Crow” issues and industrialization. 

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – Major land and water features of North America, including their importance in history.
USI.3 – Early cultures in North America.
USI.9 – Causes, events, and effects of the Civil War.

United States History: 1865-to-Present Course
USII.3 – Effects of Reconstruction on American life.
USII.4 – Developments and changes in the period 1877 to early 1900s.
USII.6 – Social, economic, and technological changes from the 1890s to 1945.
USII.8 – Economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world after World War II.
USII.9 – Domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.2 – Foundations, purposes, and components of the U.S. Constitution.
CE.3 – Citizenship rights, duties, and responsibilities.
CE.6 – Government at the national level.
CE.7 – Government at the state level.
CE.8 – Government at the local level.
CE.10 – Public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.7 – Knowledge of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
VUS.13 – Changes in the United States in the second half of the 20th Century.
VUS.14 – Political and social conditions in the 21st Century.

Government Course
GOVT.3 – Concepts of democracy.
GOVT.4 – Purposes, principles, and structure of the U.S. Constitution.
GOVT.5 – Federal system of government in the United States.
GOVT.7 – National government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – State and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – Public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.11 – Civil liberties and civil rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.