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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

The Barbara E. Pope Court Case


Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is currently preparing for a
celebration and symposium of the 100th anniversary of the historic 1906 meeting of the Niagara Movement. We are also preparing a resource file for local teachers to create lesson plans and teaching tools (CD Rom) about the Niagara Movement.

One item of interest that we would like to include in the resource file for
our teachers is the case of Barbara E. Pope. According to the August 18,
1906, notes from the Niagara Movement Committee on Legal Defense and Civil Rights, Mrs. Pope was fined in Virginia for refusing to occupy a Jim Crow
car while en route from Washington to Harpers Ferry. The incident may have
occurred near Paeonian Springs in Loudoun County (not sure). Mr. W. H. H.
Hart, a founding member of Niagara, was retained as Mrs. Pope's attorney.

Niagara members voted to pay for an appeal that was filed on August 17, 1906.
According to the August 25, 1906, Washington Bee newspaper, “Miss Pope was present [at the 1906 meeting] by request. The June 15, 1907, Cleveland Gazette reported that the Niagara Movement won the case “and nullified the Virginia “Jim Crow law as far as inter-state passengers are concerned.

We do not know more than these few facts. Hopefully, the information
documenting this incident is filed away in an accessible legal archive.
However, a search of the Loudoun County, Virginia, Courthouse archives and the Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, VA, did not produce any information on the Pope case.

The research is ongoing but we are almost at a dead end. I was hoping that
your members might have some insight, or possibly a family connection, that would further our research.


David Fox
Park Ranger & Volunteer Coordinator
Division of Interpretation
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
P.O. Box 65
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Messages In This Thread

The Barbara E. Pope Court Case
Re: The Barbara E. Pope Court Case
Re: The Barbara E. Pope Court Case

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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