With much of its labor force dead, banks closed and infrastructure destroyed, the recovery effort was a turbulent process. At that time forces in Virginia actively worked to maintain legal and cultural racial segregation. The state's 1902 constitution actually prevented African-Americans from voting, a fact that remained mostly in force until the nationwide civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.
On the productive side, Virginia's most important industry (tobacco) changed in 1911 with the government-forced breakup of the American Tobacco Company. That split created many smaller tobacco companies that significantly expanded the industry. Additionally, the popularity of cigarettes among the armed forces and the growth of cigarette popularity around the world fueled increased demand for tobacco.
Throughout World Wars I and II, and into the mid-20th century, Virginia's economy exploded and prosperity returned, Thousands of government related jobs were made available; nonagricultural businesses blossomed; large manufacturing industries opened factories across the state; employment skyrocketed; the tax base increased and Virginia never looked back.
Two recent major developments of note include Hampton Roads, one of the world's biggest and busiest harbors, and the restoration and recreation of Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest historic restorations ever undertaken. Financed by the Rockefeller family, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, it celebrates the splendor of America's colonial era.
For those of us that love travel and historical points-of-interest, Virginia is a scrupulously maintained living history museum, and an on-going celebration of America's past and present. As the home state of eight U.S. Presidents, and the site of history-changing events, the state remains tightly woven into the fabric of America.
The state's official tourism slogan is, "Live Passionately. Virginia is for lovers!" Well, we couldn't agree more.
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