This Week, 3/6

Last week, Albemarle County Schools superintendent Matt Haas declared a ban on Confederate, Nazi, and other imagery associated with “white supremacy, racial hatred, or violence” from the school system’s dress code.

A few days later, the city quietly celebrated Liberation and Freedom Day, which City Council established just two years ago, to commemorate the arrival of Union troops in Charlottesville—a defeat for those who fought for the Confederacy, and a victory for the 14,000 other people who lived here and were enslaved.

In an area that celebrated Lee-Jackson Day until 2015, these are significant signs of change. But they’re also not enough.

Charlottesville is not the same city it was in the 1920s, when influential members of the community were in the KKK, and the Lee and Jackson statues were erected in whites-only parks. Yet, these monuments to the Confederacy and Jim Crow remain the most visible signs of history in downtown Charlottesville.

That they are still here, even after the horrifying violence perpetuated in their defense, even after our elected representatives voted to move them, is largely due to the 13 people and organizations we profile in this week’s cover story.

Much blame (not to mention death threats) has been showered on those who want the statues to be moved, but little attention has been paid to those suing to keep them in place. Like the subcommittee that killed Delegate Toscano’s bill to allow localities to control their own monuments, the plaintiffs in Monument Fund v. Charlottesville are a small, all-white group, mostly men.

The lawsuit, set to go to trial March 11, hinges on the interpretation of a 1997 state law. But there’s a broader question at stake: In a city that was 52 percent black at the end of the Civil War, whose war stories do we tell, and who gets to decide? —Laura Longhine

Posted In:     Opinion,The Editor's Desk

Previous Post

This Week 2/27

Next Post

This Week: 3/13

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Notify of