Richmond historian Harry M. Ward to read from new book “Children of the Streets of Richmond, 1865-1920” on Saturday

by | Jun 18, 2015 | COMMUNITY

This Saturday, Retired University of Richmond professor and author Harry M.

This Saturday, Retired University of Richmond professor and author Harry M. Ward will sign be at Chop Suey to sign copies of new latest book: Childen of the Streets of Richmond, 1865-1920.

Ward is the William Binford Vest Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Richmond, has written over 20 books and is an expert on colonial and early U.S. history. Children of the Streets of Richmond, 1865-1920, tells the story of Richmond in the Post-Reconstruction Era. It’s unlike most of the stories that are told about this period of time in Richmond’s history.

“Richmond was a horrible place; dirty, nasty, unfriendly, it was terrible,” Ward said. “People haven’t seen that side of Richmond before.”

Richmond was a city with high crime rates, large ethnic communities, and full of life. This goes against the portrait of the city during that time as a peaceful community reeling following the civil war. The book delves into the street children, or juvenile delinquents, who would be arrested and put to trial.

“It’s about little children who wound up in these Police Courts and, although they were only six or seven years old, were tried as adults,” Ward said.

The author said that audiences will be surprised by the humor in the book. This is provided by tales from the Police Courts that tried these children, as the juvenile court system was not created until 1916. The Police Courts were an attraction for tourists and journalists alike who would come and report of the proceedings. Ward got a kick out of that.

“The city and the the Police Courts were funny,” he said. “They were hilarious.”

The information compiled in the book is public record, but it was a two-year process and according to Ward, it took one year to research and one year to write. Leading up to the work it took to develop the book, the author wasn’t so much as inspired to tell these stories, as he was aware of their presence. He felt that they were ready to be written about, that they should be written about.

“I write about things that other people aren’t writing about,” he said.

Ward dedicates his life’s work to history and research. He said that it is the investigation that keeps him interested and continue with his work.

Harry Ward will read from and sign copies of his new book, Children of the Streets of Richmond, 1865-1920, at Chop Suey Books on West Cary Street, on Sat. June 20, from 2pm to 4pm.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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