February 2019 - Minutes

CLJP Minutes February 12,  2019

Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Taylor Beard, Hal Horan, Dave Warren, Peter Weatherly, Bob McAdams, Chip Sanders, Phil Best, Ed Murray, Diane Murray, Carol Muntz, Burnie Davis, Jean Hammond.    

Guests: Yoshi Takahashi and Jim Hausmer.

McAdams opened with a moment of silent prayer and Sanders presided.  

 

Sanders and Warren gave an updates on their visits with John Peale who continues as a patient WC’s medical facility. Continued prayers are welcomed.

The Minutes of the January 8, 2019 meeting prepared by Horan were approved.

Horan also read a note from Carroll Houle who expressed his appreciation of Horan’s letter of January  10 and ended with “Please greet them for me—the CLJP was and is very important to me.”   

Treasurer’s Report: Since the November 13 balance of 2726.85, Beard reported an expense of 110.00, consisting of a 100.00 honorarium for Rabia Povich, Vice President of the Charlottesville Collective dealing with race relations and 10.00 for her lunch expense, resulting in a balance as of February 12 of  2, 616.85.

Ed Murray suggested the possibilities of donations from our treasury to local charities and organizations.     

McAdams proposed a format of alternating certain months so that more and one group could share in our munificence.  Sanders suggested that further study of the issue would be helpful.

There being a rare instance of no new announcements, Sanders asked if McAdams would report on the Richmond Rally to enact Sensible Gun Laws of January 21.  McAdams reported that the Rally went well, the Charlottesville Coalition for Gun Violence Prevention, being the major donor for the Rally’s success of being heard. However the House Committee had managed to the kill the bill before January 21. 

PROGRAM:  Horan’s report on the University of Virginia’s 2018 publication of Charlottesville 2017 The Legacy of Race and Inequity in which 14 members of the UVA faculty examine the history of the university’s and community’s endorsement, practice and celebration of white supremacy, constantly fed by the superstitions and biases that passed for objective, scientific facts.

Lisa Woolfork, Associate Professor of English, provides an excellent summation of the arguments in the closing paragraph of her essay, “THIS CLASS OF PERSONS,” When UVA’s Supremacist Past Meets the Future:

White supremacy is part of the university’s deepest and oldest historical archives and played a significant role in its early institutional structures. The university’s history of white supremacy—its status as beacon for white supremacist thought and deed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—can illuminate an approach to understanding the events of August 11. I contend that the same white supremacy that anchored the university in Charlottesville in 1818 because of the region’s proximity to the same white supremacy that linked education to white racial progress, that fueled a widespread model of white racial Mastery on campus, that promoted pro-white policies (racial integrity laws) and practices (eugenics as “science” or “medicine”) is the same white Supremacy that the neo-Confederates, Nazis, and other racists marched on  the grounds to support. It is incumbent upon all of us to consider why Charlottesville is now both epicenter and pilgrimage site,” as music professor Bonnie Gordon says in her essay in this volume.  To move forward, we can follow the direction of antilynching activist Ida B. Wells, author of Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases (1892). As Deborah McDowell, director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute, advised in a message following the events of August 11 and 12, Wells “makes two instructive points, which may serve to guide us in the days ahead: 1) ‘the people must know before they can act’ and  2)’the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.'”

The book opens with a chronology of events from 1607 when the colony of Virginia was founded and ends with the election of November, 2017 with the election of Charlottesville black activist Nikuyah Walker, later appointed the first African American to the position of mayor.

The spark that ignited the events that led to August 11 and 12 and beyond was the petitions to remove both the Stonewall Jackson (dedicated 1921)  and Robert E. Lee (dedicated 1924) memorial statues as they  celebrated not Civil War heroes as is often alleged but both the treasonous attempt to destroy the union and maintain a white supremacy under the banner of  “The Lost Cause.”  Present at the statue’s celebration was the KKK, often referred to as the second coming which would reach its peak of national popularity in the twenties.

The Jackson statue replaced both black tenement known as McKee Row and memory of an attempted lynching in 1917.  A photograph in the book, notes that “Jackson sits atop a granite pedestal featuring Aryan youths Faith and Valor.”  The confederate General, stood as is guarding against the larger black community of Vinegar Hill which would itself disappear in the 196os to make room for urban renewal displacing 158 families, 140 of which were black.

The Lee statue in what would become Lee park came three years later, in, of course, another even larger and more elegant “Lost Cause” celebration.  “If George Washington was the father of our country, Robert E. Lee was the patriarch of the Confederacy.” Said Edwin Alderman, UVA’s president, at the unveiling, “The south’s great Chieftain had done even more than his great prototype, Washington.” Stating that Lee “was the embodiment of the best that there is in all the sincere and romantic history of the whole state.  Its triumphs, its defeats, its joys, its sufferings, its rebirth, its pride, and its patience center in him.” (emphasis added)   

In Alderman’s reign of over thirty years, he would do a lot to “shape the university into a pioneer of modern white supremacist ideology.”  Much emphasis is on UVA’s provision of scientific “evidence” for the necessity of separating the races, resulting in the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 in which inter racial marriage was forbidden and in UVA’s obsession with the study of Eugenics that led to the Eugenical Sterilization Act (SB 281) and the professors who championed the cause. Two racist professors who particularly stand out are James Lawrence Cabel who saw the Bible to be in harmony with scienc Professor of American History Elizabeth R. Varon e, justified the superiority of the whites both scripturally and scientifically, and his protégé, James Barringer whose work in eugenics influenced many, far too many.

Toward the end of the 19th Century and into the 20th,  an equivalency promoted that American History Professor Elizabeth R. Varon shows to be false. In a move of Americans, north and south, to “bury the hatchet,” and promote peace, such prominent northern endorsers as Joshua Chamberlain and Theodore Roosevelt, depicted both Grant and Lee as “Admiral and talented rivals,” This led UVA Historian Gary Gallagher to say that “Reconciliation swept under the rug the painful and tragic history of American race relations and minimized the significance of emancipation and the role of African Americans in Union history.”

Writes Professor Varon:  Confederate memorials such as the Lee statue in Charlottesville are, among other things, monuments to a false equivalency—to the idea that Confederates are equally deserving of a place of honor in modern America as Union soldiers. To remove such statues is not to erase history, as so many have claimed. It is vitally important to preserve the artifacts and documents of Confederate history in the places—libraries, museums, national battle-field parks—designed for such purposes. But Lost Cause memorials, looming large in public squares, are themselves erasures of history. They seek to deny the true nature of the Civil War: a triumph of right over wrong not might over right [as Lee and others in the Lost Cause had argued]. Emphasis added.

There was one bright spot in the photographs provided in the book of turn of the 20th Century photographer Rufus Holsinger revealing the dignity of Charlottesville’s middle class African Americans.    

The meeting adjourned at  2:05 pm

Respectfully submitted,  

Hal Horan, Recording Secretary