Topic Suggestions

Topic Suggestions

2021 Theme - Communication in History: The Key to Understanding

For a list of possible topics and research suggestions for your 2021 Virginia History Day project, click here. For a more comprehensive list of Virginia-related topic ideas, see below. Please note - not all of these topics will relate to this year's theme. 

Arts and Music

1. Julien Binford’s New Deal Mural in Richmond, 1942

2. Old Fiddler’s Convention Established in 1935: Preserving Culture through Music


Agriculture and Foodways

1. Tobacco’s soil depletion and westward population migration

2. Smithfield Ham: 1926 legal definition

3. Great Moonshine Trial of Franklin County, 1935

4. Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia

5. Repeal of the 18th Amendment


Business and Industry

1. Coal mining in Southwest Virginia

2. Military Industrial Complex and the reshaping of Virginia

3. Coca-Cola: Bottling Family Business vs. Syrup Corporation


Civil Rights and Race Relations

1. Norfolk teachers’ salaries, Alston case, role of P. B. Young

2. Massive Resistance

3. Danville, 1963

4. Johnson v. Virginia, 1963

5. Loving v. Virginia, 1967

6. Green v. School Board of New Kent County, 1968

7. Stephen Michael Lenton: Gay Rights Advocate within the Catholic Church

8. Trial of Anthony Burns, 1854


Development: Urban, Suburban, and Historic Restoration

1. Loudoun County: Farmland and Server Farms

2. The Pentagon

3. Let there be light: Electrification in Virginia

4. Mapping Inequality in Richmond

5. Route 1 vs. Highways



1. Thomas Jefferson’s Plan for Public Education in Virginia


Environment and Natural Resources

1. Jamestown’s Starving Time, 1609–1610

2. Shenandoah National Park and Eminent Domain

3. Kepone Disaster



1. Jamestown brides, 1619

2. Immigration and Emigration


Native Peoples

1. Bacon’s Rebellion, 1676–1677

2. Melungeons: Intermarriage, Discrimination, and Racial Stereotypes

3. Virginia Indian Tribes vs. Walter Plecker

4. Indian Schools at Hampton and William & Mary


New Nation, Constitution, and Bill of Rights

1. United States Constitution and Bill of Rights

2. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton’s Compromise of 1790: District of Columbia and States’ Debt


Labor and Worker Rights

1. Indentured servitude and hope for economic prosperity

2. Sharecropping

3. Sharecropper Odell Waller: Murder, Poll Taxes, and Jury Reform

4. Lewis Hine: Documenting Child Labor in Virginia

5. Child Labor vs. School Attendance in Virginia

6. Tobacco Worker’s Strike in Richmond, Va., 1940

7. John Henry: Legend and Prison Laborer



1. “Young Turks” Revolt in the General Assembly, 1954

2. West vs. “East” Virginia, 1861–1863

3. Missouri Compromise

4. Compromise of 1850

5. Union or Secession, Virginia Convention of 1861

6. The Fry-Jefferson Map: Mapping out the End of the French-British Boundary Conflict



1. Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, 1777–1786



1. Reconstruction: The Underwood Convention, 1867–1868

2. Lost Cause statues

3. Knights of Pythias

4. Independent Order of St. Luke and Maggie Walker

5. Taking the Oath, southerners return to the Union

6. John Singleton Mosby, Confederate General and U.S. Consul

7. Civil War reunions: Buried hatchet and forgotten former slaves

8. Knights of Labor Convention, 1886

9. Remaking Virginia



1. John Brown’s Raid at Harpers Ferry, 1859

2. Nat Turner’s Rebellion

3. Enslaved people adjusting to the new: climate and seasoning summer

4. Enslaved people adjusting to the new: language and communication

5. Enslaved people adjusting to the new: lack of freedom of expression

6. Enslaved people adjusting to the new: foodways

7. Robert Carter III manumission in Northern Neck

8. The Slave Trade



1. Virginia’s Constitutional Convention of 1829–1830: East vs. West

2. Women’s Suffrage: Occoquan Workhouse Prisoner’s Hunger Strike



1. First Anglo-Powhatan War: Pocahontas and John Rolfe

2. Second Anglo-Powhatan War: Opechancanough’s 1622 Attacks

3. American Revolution

  • Richmond vs. Williamsburg as capital

  • Negotiations with the British over the return of slaves at the end of the Revolution

4. Civil War

5. WW1


  • WWII soldiers coming home different people

  • Joining the military—opportunity vs. risk

  • WWII: serving while segregated

  • Holocaust

7. Vietnam