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Jamestown Exposition

The Jamestown Exposition was one of the many world's fairs[?] and expositions[?] that were popular in the United States early part of the 20th century. It was held from April 26 to December 1, 1907, in Norfolk, Virginia, and commemorated the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown Settlement.

The 340-acre site included a 122x60 ft relief model of the Panama Canal, a wild animal show, a Wild West show, a re-creation of the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac[?], a re-creation of the recent San Francisco Earthquake[?], and so forth.

The exposition seems not to have been notable for much besides the display of military prowess; warships of many nations, including the sixteen battleships of the United States, participated in a naval review, and all kinds of modern military hardware were on display.

Another controversial feature of the exposition was its "Negro Building", designed by W. Sydney Pittman[?] and purporting to show the progress of African-Americans, but which was charged with being a "Jim Crow affair", and criticized by W.E.B. DuBois and T. Thomas Fortune[?]. (African-Americans were reminded of their lack of progress by being forbidden to patronize the restaurants at the exposition.)

Prominent visitors included President Theodore Roosevelt, who opened the exposition and presided over the naval review, Samuel Gompers[?], Mark Twain, and Booker T. Washington.

Financially, the exposition was not a success, losing several million dollars. The exposition buildings were taken over by the Navy and some remain in use today.

The United States issued a series of three postage stamps in conjunction with the exposition, portraying Captain John Smith, the founding of Jamestown, and Pocahontas.

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