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A Timeline of Racism in Charlottesville: From 1607 Through 2017’s 'Unite the Right' Rally

August 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Claudrena N. Harold, Salon

University of Virginia faculty examine the history and legacy of white supremacy on and around UVA’s campus

Universities are complex networks of buildings and organizations that pro­vide education and jobs and health care and cultural enrichment. They take form in classrooms, dorms, dining halls, and hospitals. They field sports teams and community volunteers. They possess histories that include shameful compromises with the inequalities and oppression of their times. And they nurture opposition to those moral and ethical errors. Most funda­mentally, universities are students, professors, staff, and alumni who think together about what is needed—from food and computers and trust to books and ideas and evidence—for us to continue in this essential act of collective thought.

The book “Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity” brings together University of Virginia professors thinking about and feeling their way through the events of August 11 and 12, 2017. When white nationalists and neo-Nazis marched through the University of Virginia, students staged a counterprotest in front of the Rotunda by standing in a small, brave circle around the statue of Jefferson. When white supremacists of all kinds rallied in Emancipation Park and fought in the streets of downtown Charlottesville, students, staff members, alumni, and professors stood among the counterprotesters and said no to hate in our town and our nation. Here, professors write about these events as scholars—as students of history, law, photography, literature, and music, yes—but also as humans, as parents and spouses and siblings, as colleagues and congregation members and citizens of a historical moment in which choices must be made and false equivalencies abolished.

I began my career as a professor of history researching how white South­erners created a culture that legitimated segregation: the system of vio­lence, oppression, and discrimination they created to replace slavery. The question that animated my work was how white Southerners learned to live with what they had done, how they convinced themselves that their world was moral and good and true. Building Confederate statues in parks and in front of courthouses formed an essential part of that work. After twenty years of teaching at the University …read more


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