In brief: Not the Daughters of Confederacy tour, City Council is back, no confidence in Cumberland, and more

Map of the downtown Confederate monument tour. Courtesy WTJU Map of the downtown Confederate monument tour. Courtesy WTJU

Tour de force

For the past couple of years, Jalane Schmidt, UVA professor and activist, and Andrea Douglas, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center director, have been conducting tours of our downtown monuments, providing new context for the Confederate statues that have long dominated Court Square and Market Street parks.

Now, those who haven’t seen the tour in person can experience it online, thanks to WTJU. The local radio station recorded the tour and will be airing short excerpts over the next two weeks, along with putting a web version on its site.

The tour offers history from a perspective that challenges the Lost Cause narrative most Southerners were taught.

“Virginia has the largest number of Confederate monuments in the country,” says Douglas. “Seventy-five exist in front of courthouses.”

Noting that founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison frequented Court Square, Schmidt says “It does beg the question why the people who tried to overthrow the U.S. Constitution are here on this ground.” Schmidt notes that the Johnny Reb statue in front of the Albemarle Circuit Court was installed after Reconstruction in 1909, when the Confederates who had been barred from office slipped back into government “to re-establish white supremacy—and they use those words,” she says. “They were not embarrassed by it.”

Jalane Schmidt and Andrea Douglas lead a tour that challenges the Lost Cause narrative of Confederate monuments. Photos Eze Amos

Quote of the week

“Like everyone else—sick to the stomach, very angry about our elected officials doing nothing to change anything. We are so long past ‘thoughts and prayers’ and we are so overdue gun reform.” Priya Mahadevan, leader of Moms Demand Action in Charlottesville, responding to the latest mass shootings.

In brief

Riggleman rebuked

Denver Wriggleman. file photo

On July 27, the 5th District Congressional Committee tried, and failed, to muster a censure of U.S. Representative Denver Riggleman for marrying two men who had volunteered for his campaign. The determined anti-gay marriage chair of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, Diana Shores, then tried another tack: On July 29, she pushed through a unanimous vote of no confidence for Riggleman for failing to represent her values, the Washington Post reports.

Filmmaker dies

Courtesy Paladin Media Group

Paladin Media Group founder Kent Williamson, 52, was on the way to the movies when an alleged drunk driver crashed into the car in which he was a passenger August 2 in Berrien County, Michigan, the Progress reports. The father of six was with three extended family members, who also died in the crash.

Fiancée killer

Cardian Omar Eubanks was sentenced August 5 to life plus eight years for the murder of his estranged fiancée, Amanda Bates, 34, whom he shot while she was seated in her car in her driveway March 24, 2018. At the time, her two sons were inside the house on Richmond Road. Bates’ family has spoken out about the tragedy to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Crozet commuter

JAUNT launched its Crozet Connect August 5, with two routes from east and west Crozet, each with three morning departures to UVA and downtown Charlottesville. The rides are free for UVA faculty, staff, and students, and free for other riders until October 1, after which the commute will cost $2 each way.

Nydia Lee. Photo Charlottesville police

Mother indicted

Nydia Lee, 26, was arrested August 5 for second-degree murder in the January 10 death of her 20-month-old child, according to Charlottesville police. A multi-jurisdictional grand jury returned the indictment and Lee is being held without bond. 

Garden director

The McIntire Botanical Garden, in the works since 2013, announced the hiring of its first executive director. Landscape architect Jill Trischman-Marks, who has served on the botanical garden’s board of directors and multiple committees, was selected through a competitive process, according to a release, and starts September 1.

Topping the agenda

It was a packed house Monday night at City Hall, where Char- lottesville City Council returned from its summer hiatus to vote
on several issues that had been at the forefront of discussion over the past few months.

The rezoning proposal for the Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church was passed unanimously, paving the way for the church to construct 15 apartments with at least four affordable housing units for the intellectually disabled. The type of rezoning received pushback from Belmont neighbors worried about increased traffic on the road and fewer parking spots.

Charlottesville City Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins laid out a new model for Quest, the city’s gifted program that’s seeing
changes in how students are selected and will no longer be separating
kids from the rest of their classmates. The plan, which was approved in a 5-0 vote, includes $468,000 in funding for city elementary schools to hire eight new instructors to help implement the revamped program for the 2019-20 school year.

After a year of research, the Police Civilian Review Board outlined proposed bylaws for a permanent CRB (to include two full-time employees). Council will hold private discussions with staff, including Police Chief RaShall Brackney, before drafting a final proposal in October.

And Unity Days organizer Tanesha Hudson asked for an additional $35,000 to bring D.C. rapper Wale to the Made in Charlottesville Concert at Tonsler Park on August 18, but the motion, supported only by Councilor Wes Bellamy, never made it to a vote.

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