The Bulletin

Encyclopedia Va. won’t remove white supremacy references from United Daughters of the Confederacy entry

By: - August 30, 2018 5:23 pm
Virginia Mercury

The editor of Encyclopedia Virginia says the reference website is standing by its entry on the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which includes references to the group’s role promoting white supremacy.

The statements came in response to a letter-writing campaign initiated by the Confederate heritage group’s leader, who complained in a letter to members that the entry focused too much on race and not enough on the organization’s work.

“It has been brought to my attention that Encyclopedia Virginia has a negative article on the UDC,” writes Ginger R. Stephens. “The majority of the article is about the UDC and race. The UDC’s objectives are not included, and there is no mention of any of the UDC’s work.”

Editor Brendan Wolfe counters that UDC’s work placing statues and other Confederate memorials “adds up to a nostalgic elevation of a society the foundation of which was the violent enslavement of other human beings.

“And this ‘elevation’ was not by accident. It came at precisely the moment when those formerly enslaved people were competing with their former enslavers for political power. By asserting that slavery was not that bad and that white people had always acted honorably and in the best interests of blacks, the Lost Cause became an argument for a society in which white people belonged at the top of the order and blacks at the bottom. That’s white supremacy.”

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.