A new take on an old design
The Confederate generals who populate downtown Richmond will soon have a new neighbor. “Rumors of War,” a bronze statue from artist Kehinde Wiley, is modeled after that city’s J.E.B. Stuart monument, but features an African American man with dreadlocks, a hoodie, and ripped jeans sitting atop a rearing horse.
Wiley is most famous for his portrait of former president Barack Obama, which is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. His new piece, scheduled to be moved to the lawn of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in December, was unveiled in Times Square September 27.
“Rumors of War” is the latest effort by the city of Richmond to install statues that counterbalance Confederate monuments that can’t be removed due to state law.
In 1996, a statue of African American tennis champion Arthur Ashe joined those on Monument Avenue. More recently, the city unveiled a statue of Maggie Walker, a civil rights activist and Richmond native who was the first American black woman to charter a bank. And on October 14, it’ll host a formal dedication of the Virginia Women’s Monument, which includes seven women who have made significant impacts in the commonwealth.
Looking for justice after JADE raid
Herbert Dickerson, whose home on the 300 block of 7 1/2 Street was raided by Virginia State Police and the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force on August 27, has demanded an apology and compensation from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia State Police, and Governor Ralph Northam.
Twenty police officers stormed Dickerson’s house with flash-bang grenades and automatic weapons looking for Dickerson’s son, a convicted felon, because a confidential informant said he had a weapon. Attorney Jeff Fogel, who’s representing Herbert Dickerson, says officers had no probable cause for the raid, and that they conducted themselves in an unreasonable manner, which he says violates the Fourth Amendment.
Fogel has sent a letter to Northam, as well as Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, asking for a meeting to discuss Virginia State Police protocols and an independent investigation of the raid. If they do not receive a response, Fogel says they “are prepared to go to court and file suit.”
Quote of the week
“You guys are living on borrowed time. We are one event away from Congress overreacting.” —Virginia Senator Mark Warner on the “Recode Decode” podcast, where he said he sees big privacy restrictions coming for large tech companies
Bob Good, an athletics official at Liberty University who sits on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, is expected to mount a GOP primary challenge against incumbent Representative Denver Riggleman. This news comes shortly after the Rappahannock County Republican Party censured Riggleman for “abandoning party principles”—a decision Riggleman’s supporters suspect stems from the freshman congressman’s recent officiation of a same-sex wedding.
The City of Charlottesville announced September 25 that more than 10,000 former and current utility customers had their personal information exposed in a March security breach. The city has no evidence so far to suggest that the sensitive information—including names, addresses, and Social Security information—has been used improperly. The breach was discovered while investigating a separate phishing scam that had compromised the email data of a city employee.
Longo steps in
Former Charlottesville police chief Tim Longo has been appointed interim UVA chief of police, after current chief Tommye Sutton resigned after just 13 months on the job. Sutton had been on paid administrative leave since early September, for unspecified reasons.
Eugene and Lorraine Williams, who have long fought for racial equality in Charlottesville, will be recognized by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center on October 5 with its Reflector Award, honoring their activism and civic engagement. The Williamses, now in their 90s, played a crucial role in ending the segregation of Charlottesville schools in the 1950s.
Albemarle County and Charlottesville City schools have begun revamping their history curricula with one goal in mind: telling the truth. In partnership with Montpelier and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, U.S. history teachers in county and city schools will participate in workshops, community forums, and visits to local historical sites, and curricula revisions are expected to begin next summer.
Five area public schools are not fully accredited, according to data released September 30. Two schools in Albemarle and three schools in Charlottesville, including Buford Middle and Walker Upper Elementary, were conditionally accredited and will need to file school improvement reports with the state. Many of the schools were not fully accredited due to poor testing performance, particularly among black and disabled students.