Roger Chesley

Roger Chesley

Longtime columnist and editorial writer Roger Chesley worked at the (Newport News) Daily Press and The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot from 1997 through 2018. He previously worked at newspapers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Detroit. Reach him at [email protected]


Eminent domain’s long-ago racism still hinders African Americans today

By: - September 18, 2023

More than a half-century ago, several colleges in Virginia benefited by usurping the onetime properties of Black people. The cruel irony? Those African Americans whose homes were snatched, often legally by utilizing eminent domain, weren’t welcomed at those same universities. Those property seizures are a stain on the commonwealth. They were racist in result – […]


Labor market should be applauded, not lamented

By: - September 4, 2023

Ever so slowly, people around Virginia and across America are going back to work. A constant trickle of laborers has returned to restaurants, retail outlets and offices since the worst of COVID-19 forced Americans to quit their jobs or work remotely. Businesses, chambers of commerce and lawmakers say the hoped-for flood of workers hasn’t reappeared […]


New U.Va. video an unfortunate, necessary tutorial about carnage on campuses

By: - August 22, 2023

You never see the face of the handgun-wielding attacker in a new instructional video that all University of Virginia students must now view. In that way, the glove- and hoodie-wearing assailant stalking people on campus is unknown, mysterious. Sadly, suspects in many real-life campus attacks in the commonwealth and elsewhere revealed disturbing signs that something […]


Cost shouldn’t be the main factor in operating satellite voting centers

By: - August 15, 2023

Richmond’s Republican-majority electoral board recently blundered into a needless controversy over early voting satellite sites. The board had shut down two locations before reversing itself this month following a heated outcry from state and local officials, residents and community activists. The initial decision to shutter the sites even violated state law. Starlet Stevens, Richmond Electoral […]


Biased assumptions leave Black people exasperated

By: - August 4, 2023

Please, white America: Just stop it. Stop trying to put Black people in their “place.” Stop calling the police when African Americans have the temerity to refuse to show their ID – as if you are a law enforcement official. Black Virginians already have to deal with being stopped by actual police more than white […]


At the very least, Loudoun school official deserves apology from Miyares, Youngkin

By: - July 10, 2023

The longtime spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools, among the officials excoriated by the governor and the attorney general after a student was charged in two sexual assaults at separate schools, was acquitted recently of a felony perjury charge. Wayde Byard, accused of lying to a special grand jury investigating the botched handling of the […]


Freeway shootings continue to menace Hampton Roads, commonwealth

By: - June 27, 2023

Something bizarre must happen to some folks when they get behind the wheel, cruise onto the interstate and encounter other motorists. At least that’s how one man, arrested after a shooting in March on Interstate 64, explained it to the Virginia State Police. It’s the first time the suspect has faced violent criminal charges, according […]


Registrars are beholden to democracy, not partisan electoral boards

By: - June 15, 2023

An interview that asked whether a job candidate, a general registrar, was still “seeking counseling for PTSD.” Unsubstantiated and unhinged allegations of wrongdoing against a county’s top voter registration official and  staff. Dozens of threatening phone calls to the voter registrar’s staff in another locality. All of that’s happening in Virginia. If I’d expanded the […]


Black men’s lower life expectancy a factor in starting Social Security

By: - June 5, 2023

Black people know, intuitively, that we lag white Americans in a host of categories including health, wealth and living standards. So it was no surprise that, as The Washington Post reported, African American communities suffered an excess 1.6 million deaths compared with white populations over the past two decades. What shocked me, though, were these […]


Quitting multistate voter-data program plays into conspiracy theorists’ hands

By: - May 18, 2023

It’s official: State elections administrators, following a path trod by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, have quaffed the MAGA Kool-Aid. Sadly, the sickly-sweet aftertaste will harm Virginians of all political stripes. Susan Beals, a Youngkin appointee as commissioner of the state Department of Elections, last week announced the commonwealth would leave the compact known as the […]


Despite ceaseless slayings, Virginians keep combating gun violence

By: - May 4, 2023

It’s difficult to maintain hope that we can reduce gun violence when so many shootings – from the spraying of bullets at a Sweet Sixteen party in Alabama, to a senseless execution of family members in Texas, to the sentencing in the slayings of a Fairfax County couple – suggest the opposite. So it’s essential […]


GOP operative’s screed against voting practices isn’t based on facts

By: - April 27, 2023

There are two primary ways to win elections:   You can encourage citizens to turn out en masse for your party’s candidate. Or you can install barriers for people who want to choose the other side’s nominee. Cleta Mitchell, a top Republican Party operative, just proved again her side is much too dependent on the latter. […]