A quiet fall day on the Downtown Mall quickly turned into a party on Saturday morning as word spread that Joe Biden had won Pennsylvania, giving him enough electoral votes to win the presidential race.
People cheered and clapped in celebration of the Democrat’s long-awaited victory, while cars sporting Biden-Harris flags honked as they passed the mall.
Several hours later, community organizers Don Gathers and Katrina Turner led a last-minute victory rally at the free speech wall. Following several speeches from activists and community members, the crowd sang and danced, overjoyed at Donald Trump’s defeat.
“It is a historic moment. We now have a woman going into the executive office, and to put the cherry on that sundae, a Black woman,” said Gathers.
Celebrations erupted across the country as Biden’s win dominated headlines, sparking fireworks, parades, and other festivities.
In nearby Washington, D.C., thousands flocked to Black Lives Matter Plaza—close to where federal agents teargassed protesters over the summer so Trump could take pictures holding a Bible—waving flags, banging pots and pans, dancing, and popping champagne bottles amidst whoops and hollers. Others reveled in front of the fenced-off White House, later booing and flicking off Trump’s motorcade when he arrived back from hours on the golf course.
“Sha na na, hey hey, goodbye!” shouted the crowd at the White House.
Confederate time capsule
In September, Albemarle County removed the Confederate statue from in front of the courthouse, and in the process revealed a dented, waterlogged time capsule that had been filled with mementos and buried below the monument more than a century before.
Archivists at UVA library have now sifted through the time capsule’s contents. Most of the documents are unreadable, the paper not having survived “a century of immersion in dirty, acidic water,” the librarians wrote in a blog post. Other things did last, however, including three bullets that had been collected from a local battlefield. The capsule’s creators must have thought they were burying Confederate bullets, but modern historical analysis reveals that the bullets were in fact fired by Union guns.
Quote of the week
“That man is gone! That’s it. Trump is gone.”
—community activist Katrina Turner, speaking to NBC29 during an impromptu Downtown Mall rally on Saturday
UVA men’s basketball clocked in at No. 4 in the nation in the first AP preseason poll of the 2020-21 season. The Cavs are still, technically speaking, defending national champions. The team will look to build on a strong finish in last spring’s COVID-shortened season. UVA opens on November 25 with a neutral-site game against St. Peter’s.
Tragedy on 29
After being struck by a car on U.S. 29 last Tuesday evening, 23-year-old Marcos E. Arroyo died of his injuries at UVA hospital on Monday. He had been trying to cross the highway near the intersection of 29 and Twentyninth Place, close to Fashion Square Mall. Last year, 41-year-old Bradley Shaun Dorman also died after trying to cross 29 North near Gander Drive, highlighting the need for improved pedestrian infrastructure on the busy highway.
Piedmont Virginia Community College will use CARES Act funding to offer free spring tuition to those who’ve received unemployment benefits since August 1—or who’ve taken on a new part-time job that pays less than $15 per hour. The no-cost classes will apply to high-demand career areas, including early childhood education, health care, IT, and skilled trades. Students must enroll by December 14.
Just days after The Washington Post published a scathing report last month on the “relentless racism” Black students and alumni faced at Virginia Military Institute, Governor Ralph Northam ordered a third-party investigation into the state-funded school. Last week, Northam pushed forward with the plan, adding $1 million to the proposed state budget for the probe. Lawmakers will review and approve budget revisions during this week’s special session.