The city of Petersburg has distinguished itself as a special place for African American history. African Americans in Petersburg have overcome racial and political obstacles placed in their paths. The city was the site of one of the largest free black populations in the South leading up to the Civil War, and more black soldiers participated in the Siege of Petersburg than in any other Civil War engagement. The city is the location of First Baptist Church, the nation’s oldest black church; has produced trailblazers in political life, including Virginia’s first black mayor; and is the site of the famous Halifax Triangle, a thriving black business district. This diverse and poignant collection of photographs reveals a heritage rich in entrepreneurial spirit, devotion to church life, and unshakable courage in the struggle for civil rights.