Richmond’s Gilded Age: The Grit Behind the Glitz

Time Period
1877 to 1924
Media Type
Politics & Government
Science & Technology
Brian Burns

On November 2, 2017, Brian Burns delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Richmond’s Gilded Age: The Grit Behind the Glitz.”

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Richmond entered the Gilded Age seeking bright prospects while struggling with its own past. During a labor convention in conservative Richmond, white supremacists prepared to enforce segregation at gunpoint. Progressives attempted to gain political power by unveiling a wondrous new marvel: Richmond’s first electric streetcar. Handsome lawyer Thomas J. Cluverius was accused of murdering a pregnant woman and dumping her body in the city reservoir, sparking Richmond’s trial of the century. And after Jefferson Davis’s death in 1889, elites launched an arduous monument-building campaign. Author Brian Burns takes us on a romp through the River City as it headed toward a new century.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.