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Vital Virginians

Explore the progress of civil rights in America in the 20th Century by learning about some famous Virginians. Maggie Lena Walker was the first woman to be president of a chartered bank in America. Harry F. Byrd Sr. opposed the post-World War II push for desegregation by crafting the South’s “Massive Resistance” strategy. When that failed, people of color such as Arthur Ashe benefited! This funny, colorful graphic novel will excite reluctant readers, prepare students for standardized tests in history and help homeschooling parents!

Comic sample page #1: How can you get free money?
Comic sample page #2: Who won the first U.S. Open?
Topics covered in this comic book
Teacher’s Guide for this comic


Maggie Lena Walker and banker's interest


Maggie Lena Walker and banker's interest


Chapter 1: Virginian Inventions
After the American Revolution, Virginia’s agricultural base begins to change. Tobacco farming is hard on the soil, causing many to look for new ways to grow crops or for new jobs to do. Thomas Jefferson and Cyrus McCormick invent better farming tools. Lewis Temple helps others farm the seas. Other Virginians turn their creative problem-solving skills to other areas . . .

Virginians’ Inventions includes the following topics:
What did Thomas Jefferson invent?
What did Cyrus McCormick invent?
Who made a better whale harpoon?
What did Matthew Maury create?
Who discovered yellow fever’s cause?

Chapter 2: Maggie Lena Walker
African-Americans have trouble using their rights in the time between the Civil War and World War II. “Jim Crow” laws make it hard for them to vote or mix with white people in public. Despite this, Richmond’s Maggie Lena Walker finds a way to help African-Americans make economic choices for themselves…

Maggie Lena Walker includes the following topics:
Where did Maggie Walker live?
What does a producer do?
What could a penny buy in 1902?
How can you get free money?
Is Maggie Walker’s bank still going?

Chapter 3: Harry F. Byrd Sr.
Harry F. Byrd, Sr., an apple grower from the western part of Virginia, becomes governor and follows a “Pay As You Go” policy for road improvements in the 1920s. He modernizes Virginia’s government offices. But he massively resists change when he becomes a United States senator for Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court says all public schools should be desegregated . . .

Harry F. Byrd Sr. includes the following topics:
Who ran “The Organization?”
Who said separate was unequal?
Who created Massive Resistance?
Did Massive Resistance work?
How fast did Virginia integrate?

Chapter 4: Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe is a young Richmond man with the natural skills to take advantage of the civil rights progress of the 1950s. He becomes the first African-American winner of a major men’s singles tennis championship. Ashe is also an author and eloquent speaker for social change. He coaches America’s Davis Cup team against other nations in the 1980s but then gets AIDS and faces the toughest contest of his life . . .

Arthur Ashe includes the following topics:

Where did Arthur Ashe grow up?
How did Arthur Ashe play better?
Who won the first U.S. Open?
When did Ashe win Wimbledon?
Why did Arthur Ashe stop playing?

View the Teaching Guide for this Comic

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