We were standing in the Boston Common by the Park Street subway stop on a Saturday, and my friend, an old hippie, looked out at the green hill sloping up towards the State House and said, “I remember when you’d look up there and see people getting it on under blankets.”
For most Americans, Monticello is the home of Thomas Jefferson, an icon of American architectural expression, a treasured National Historic Landmark and the only American residence on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List. But it’s also the best documented and best preserved early American plantation, and for that reason, a window into the obscure institution of slavery.
I have a distinct memory of being a 14-year-old boy in 1989 watching an MTV video for the Public Enemy song “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” and having my father sit down next to me. I didn’t change the channel, because for some reason I wanted him to see it. He grew up in north Alabama in the ‘50s and eventually worked as a press secretary for a prominent Democratic member of Congress. When the video was over, he looked at me like the ground had ripped open between us and said something like, “Tough stuff.”
Not too long ago, I was sitting at a dinner table with a friend of my mother’s on her 60th birthday when she announced that she planned to live to 120. Turning 60, she said, was kind of like turning 40 used to be.
As a 21-year-old in 1963, Dylan sang “The Times They Are a A-Changin’” with Baez from the podium during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and later in that same year, receiving a civil rights award from the ACLU a month after Kennedy was assassinated, he thumbed his nose at the progressive establishment.
Moments after his City Council peers chose him to serve as Charlottesville’s next mayor, Satyendra Huja departed briefly from his pragmatic tone to reflect on the larger significance of the occasion. Nearing his fourth decade in Charlottesville, Satyendra Huja will try to put years of service as an elected official and planner to the task […]
We are all acting out roles we’ve inherited, and we are all evaluated by an audience that understands us incompletely–– that’s the message Shakespeare taunts us with…
Last week we took a bit of a beating for running an issue about the future and featuring a number of young people, all of whom happened to be white. A couple of indignant readers pointed out that painting an all-white future of this city amounts to racism, and they demanded a response from the editor.
I usually write these columns on Monday mornings, the day we put the paper out, but because of the holiday I’m writing this one on Friday, which means it will be four days before you read it, with all of the events of the weekend between. I’m writing into the future.
On the shortest day of the year, cultures in northern latitudes from Japan to Finland celebrate the return of light. It makes sense to recognize a thing so elemental in its absence, another paradox of human perception. Like you can’t have your cake and eat it too…
Is Thomas Jefferson’s life as a slave owner a personal contradiction that tarnishes his political and moral legacy, or is it more correct to view his plantation life as a reflection of the American social materiel from which he formulated his much-vaunted ideals?
Americans put a huge emphasis on sports. When I was 11, I missed a free throw to lose the Police Boys Club city championship game in Washington D.C. and cried my eyes out in front of 1,500 or so people.
I knew a political operative in Chicago, since moved on to D.C., who used to get upset by the way people misunderstood and then misused O’Neill’s analect. For this guy, the advice wasn’t a warning to limit the scope of campaign messages, it was a simple reminder that to win elections, you have to start with a base at home and build out from there.
When I was a kid growing up in D.C. in the mid-80s, there were bumper stickers around that read, “Don’t Fairfax Loudoun.” If you’ve spent any time in Northern Virginia over the past two decades, you’ll understand the futility of the position.
This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to say thanks. No, really. Because with the planes, trains, and automobiles on Wednesday, the turkey and football on Thursday, and the dawn frenzy of Black Friday, it may be hard to get a quiet minute, much less make the connection that we are celebrating the bounty of the American continent.
"The challenge right now is getting the clerk’s office where I want it. You hear that Charlottesville is a world class city, a progressive city, and yet we have a clerk’s office that is not in the 21st century"
Since the Pew Research Center began unveiling a series of studies on income disparities in the U.S., I’ve been reading about the death of the American Dream.
The UVA Men’s Soccer team beat Wake Forest in a barn burner ACC Tournament quarterfinal Tuesday night at Klockner Stadium, earning a 4-3 victory with Brian Span’s golden goal, scored with just 20 seconds remaining in the second overtime period.
I’ve been watching the Occupy movement with great interest. The bootstraps activism of the ‘60s is something I’ve always romanticized, on the one hand, and been haunted by, because I missed it.
I’ve always loved the movies, but I can’t remember the first one I fell for. Was it the trippy cartoon version of The Hobbit?
This week’s feature is about Vaughan Wilson, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, our war in Afghanistan, which is 10 years old this month. It’s also about the fact that a decade of war has created a generation of men and women directly affected by its costs and that, as a country, we’re really only just beginning to learn what that means.
Jonathan Coleman will tell you that his latest book has taken him on a strange journey. West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life is the autobiography of basketball legend Jerry West, told in the first person.
Food is the most direct connection between necessity and art in culture. Whether you are an Oglala who prizes a salted slice of raw kidney from a fresh kill, a Basque with a taste for reconstituted salt cod in pil pil sauce, or a Virginian with specific thoughts about Surry County ham, our cuisines show how we adapt and ultimately exalt the foods that keep us alive, and in the process create a shared identity.
Will Bates didn’t grow up with soccer in his blood. Born in Chester, Virginia, in football country and raised by a father who had been a gridiron warrior at Virginia Military Institute, his success story is a classic example of the expansion of the sport in this country and of a homegrown talent’s route to the big stage
I’ve led a pretty nomadic existence since my college graduation in 1997. In just under 15 years I’ve lived in 10 places––spending three months at the shortest stop, Eugene, and four years in the most permanent, Boston, where I still managed to bunk down in five different neighborhoods.
Growing up, we sang the Johnny Appleseed song before dinner. I don’t know where the tradition came from in our house. Since my mother was Catholic, I’d guess it came from my father’s side. Not that it makes a whole lot more sense theologically for Alabama Presbyterians to be singing a Swedenborgian anthem, but the hymn […]