In brief: Lynching memorial installed, ICE threatens with fines, Jim Ryan’s big bucks, and more

The Equal Justice Initiative provided the marker for Court Square that details the history of lynching in America on one side and the account of John Henry James on the other. (Photo: Eze Amos) The Equal Justice Initiative provided the marker for Court Square that details the history of lynching in America on one side and the account of John Henry James on the other. (Photo: Eze Amos)

History of lynching acknowledged

In Court Square, Albemarle County’s seat of justice, a memorial was installed July 12 to commemorate a historic injustice—the lynching of a black man on that date in 1898. A mob of white people pulled John Henry James from a train near what is now Farmington Country Club, and hanged him from a locust tree.

More than 100 people gathered for the installation of the marker from the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, where two busloads of local people journeyed a year ago to deliver soil from the lynching site. EJI’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice were created to acknowledge this country’s history of racial terror and its impact today.

Many of those from the pilgrimage, organized by Jefferson School African American Heritage Center director Andrea Douglas and UVA professor and activist Jalane Schmidt, attended, as did city councilors, Albemarle supervisors, and Governor Ralph Northam—who did not speak.

“It wasn’t just about the trip. It was what we did when we got home,” said Douglas. “If you want lasting change, it has to happen on every single level.”

Kiara Boone from the Equal Justice Initiative noted the importance of “truth telling” to acknowledge the pain of racial injustice and begin to repair it and heal from it. “It’s a reflection of our values, what a community chooses to memorialize,” she said.

Memorials and monuments often “tell a very one-sided, watered-down version of history,” she said at the site that holds statues of a Confederate general and a soldier. By unveiling the James marker, “we push back on that.”

Mayor Nikuyah Walker said what happened to James could still happen today. “I want you to think about a community where a man can be lynched with law enforcement present, and the fear that travels through generations as a result…and how that fear lived within the DNA of black people who walk these lands today.”

Installing the memorial is “the easiest part of the work,” she said. In changing the landscape of a community as wealthy as Charlottesville, Walker asked, “Do you do that work with the intention of understanding that there’s a debt that hasn’t been paid?”

The Equal Justice Initiative provided the marker for Court Square that details the history of lynching in America on one side and the account of John Henry James on the other.


Quote of the week

The soil carries a story, the blood, tears, and sweat of those who were oppressed in the community.” Kiara Boone with the Equal Justice Initiative at the installation of a marker commemorating the 1898 lynching of John Henry James


In brief

Sanctuary fine

ICE is threatening to impose a $214,000 fine on Guatemalan refugee Maria Chavalan Sut, who has lived in Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church since October while she fights deportation, the DP reports. The Reverend Isaac Collins says, “The purpose of it is to intimidate Maria and to put pressure on her.”

Ryan’s No. 2

UVA prez Jim Ryan has the second-highest salary of state employees in Virginia, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch list of salaries. Ryan clocks in at $963,000 for his first 11 months, and follows Michael Rao, VCU president.

Another Long honor

Former Wahoo and Super Bowl champ Chris Long received the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic work and leadership. Long’s First Quarter for Literacy program promotes early literacy in Charlottesville and other communities, and his Water Boys initiative has built more than 60 wells in East Africa.

Harding’s return

Attorney Elliott Harding’s first stab at getting on the ballot to challenge longtime Democratic state Senator Creigh Deeds in the 25th District was rebuffed by the Charlottesville registrar, who challenged some of the signatures Harding submitted. He appealed to the State Board of Elections, which gave him a thumbs up to be on the ballot November 5 as an independent, the Daily Progress reports. Harding is the nephew of Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding.

Huguely motion denied

Judge Rick Moore ruled that an expert who testified in a Maryland case that George Huguely V did not intend to murder Yeardley Love in 2010 cannot be deposed by the defense in Sharon Love’s wrongful death lawsuit against Huguely, because he’s Love’s expert and Love does not intend to call him as a witness in the Charlottesville case.

Hindu sanctuary at UVA

The president of the Universal Society of Hinduism urged UVA July 13 to provide Hindu students with a “designated prayer-meditation hall for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise.” Rajan Zed, who resides in Nevada, asks that the prayer room include ceremonial Hindu objects such as an altar and statues. According to the Cav Daily, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh communities do not have a designated place of worship on Grounds.

Huguely motion denied

Judge Rick Moore ruled that an expert who testified in a Maryland insurance case that George Huguely V did not intend to murder Yeardley Love in 2010 cannot be deposed by the defense in Sharon Love’s wrongful death lawsuit against Huguely because he’s Love’s expert and Love does not intend to call him as a witness in the Charlottesville case. 

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