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This article examines the interests expressed by white Populists and black Republicans regarding political coalition in Virginia. Virginia is interesting because it is generally considered a failed site for the Populist movement and for interracial organizing under it. Such a coalition was untenable statewide, but economic, social, and historical conditions opened a space for it in a cluster of majority-black counties. The failure of the coalition was not due to incompatible interests but to changing calculations of the outcomes. The interests expressed by white Populists and black Republicans converged and then diverged sharply as the meaning of past interracial coalitions changed for both sides.