Encyclopedia Virginia

Archer Alexander

Encyclopedia Virginias mission is to provide a free, reliable, multimedia resource that tells the inclusive story of Virginia for students, teachers, and communities who seek to understand how the past informs the present and the future. Encyclopedia Virginia (EV) is a reliable and user-friendly resource on the history and culture of Virginia. Encyclopedia Virginia anthologizes the best and most current scholarship that exists on a given topic. A project of Virginia Humanities in partnership with the Library of VirginiaEV publishes topical and biographical entries written by scholars, edited to be accessible to a general audience, and vigorously fact-checked. Content creation is a work in progress, with new entries published regularly. Entries are accompanied by primary documents and media objects, including images, audio and visual clips, and virtual tours of historic sites. Many of our media objects are unavailable elsewhere and are published courtesy of partnerships with museums and cultural institutions in Virginia, the United States, and Great Britain. I am so happy to announce that Encyclopedia Virginia has recently published my entry on Archer Alexander.

Archer Alexander was a formerly enslaved man who served as the model for the Emancipation Monument dedicated on the eleventh anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Alexander was born enslaved in Rockbridge County in the early nineteenth century. In 1829, Alexander’s enslaver, James Alexander, brought him to Missouri, where Alexander worked as an enslaved laborer, eventually being sold to members of the Pitman family.

Encyclopedia Virginia https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/archer-alexander-d-december-8-1880/

Editorial Process

Encyclopedia Virginia (EV)’s editorial process is designed to ensure accurate, up-to-date scholarship. First, content is created in thematic sections (i.e., Civil War, colonial Virginia, literature). In this way, entries are created with an eye toward their larger historical context. Then, EV engages one or more scholars to serve as section editors. They help to create a list of topics and suggest contributors, most of whom are other scholars who have published widely in the field.

After an entry has been submitted, EV editors work with the contributor on any necessary developmental editing, consulting primary and secondary sources as appropriate and making an initial check of facts and interpretations. A draft is then sent to the section editors for review. Entries deemed to be particularly complex or potentially controversial are sent to multiple scholars for review. When the section editors and contributors are satisfied with the result, the entry is reviewed separately by fact-checkers and copy editors.

Archer Alexander’s story is important not only to the fabric of Virginia’s history, but it stretches across America. A man born enslaved in Virginia, who became a hero in Missouri’s Civil War conflict, was unknown in our Nation’s capital. There Archer Alexander rises before President Abraham Lincoln, his emancipator. The Emancipation Monument which was the gift of the formerly enslaved, was the only memorial to honor Lincoln in Washington, D.C. until 1922. The “unidentified man” now has a new opportunity for his story to be heard loud and clear with this Encyclopedia Virginia entry. Thank you!

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