LOOK AWAY

Officials in Richmond still won’t explain why police attacked hundreds of peaceful protestors a year ago

BY: - May 26, 2021

The police chief apologized. Mayor Levar Stoney now calls the attack “unintentional.” But a year later, officials in Richmond still won’t offer a full explanation of what exactly happened that led officers to unleash a barrage of tear gas and pepper spray on a crowd of hundreds of peaceful protestors. City officials also refuse to […]

Minnesota cop guilty of murder: Floyd’s killing reverberated across the country, sparking change in Virginia

BY: - April 20, 2021

The jury has spoken, finding Derek Chauvin guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd. The former Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of Floyd, who was handcuffed and face down on the pavement, for more than nine minutes last May, a killing that sparked nationwide protests and a reckoning on race and […]

COMMENTARY

Then and now: Protest songs remind us in times of tumult that we’ve yet to realize our aspirations

BY: - April 12, 2021

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. You’re taking my life from me.  I can’t breathe. Will anyone fight for me?” — “I Can’t Breathe,” H.E.R., 2020 Music born of angry times of domestic disunity in American history leave indelible marks on us that speak loudly about who we are rather than who we propose to […]

Virginia teachers are going to be assessed on ‘cultural competency.’ What does that mean?

BY: - April 1, 2021

Makya Little was helping her fourth-grade daughter review for the Virginia Studies SOL, a standardized test on state history, when she found herself taken aback by one of the questions on the study guide. “She gets to this one question that says ‘What’s the status of the early African?’” said Little, who lives in Prince […]

Virginia House votes to remove statue of segregationist Harry Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square

BY: - January 27, 2021

In the reckoning over Confederate statues in Virginia, memorials to more contemporary champions of racism initially escaped scrutiny. That changed last year when a freshman Republican lawmaker in the House of Delegates proposed removing a Capitol Square statue of Harry Flood Byrd Sr., who was the architect of the state’s campaign of massive resistance against […]

In purge of Confederates, Virginia plans to rename Camp Pendleton

BY: - January 20, 2021

Camp Pendleton, the state military reservation in Virginia Beach named for a Confederate general, likely will be renamed soon. Next month, a panel of state officials plans to recommend a new name for the Virginia National Guard training facility, which was named for William Nelson Pendleton, a Virginian who served as Gen. Robert E. Lee’s […]

COMMENTARY

Oppression in the kitchen, delight in the dining room: the story of an enslaved chef and chocolatier in Colonial Virginia

BY: - December 25, 2020

By Kelley Fanto Deetz, University of California, Berkeley Among the many treats of the holiday season are chocolate and hot cocoa. While these traditions provide a hefty dose of sugar, there’s a bittersweet side to chocolate’s history, too. This year, at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, a plantation museum where, as a historian, I […]

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville that white supremacist protesters rallied around on Aug. 12 last year.

In six rural Virginia counties, residents vote overwhelmingly to keep Confederate monuments

BY: - November 4, 2020

Voters in six rural counties voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to keep courthouse monuments to the Confederacy — imagery that more populous cities and counties have rushed to remove amid a renewed national reckoning on race. Before this year, local governments in Virginia were prohibited under state law from removing Confederate statues. New Democratic majorities in the […]

In Lee Monument lawsuit, judge rules it’s no longer public policy in Virginia to honor Confederacy

BY: - October 27, 2020

It’s no longer public policy in Virginia to hold the Confederacy in a state of perpetual veneration, a Richmond judge ruled Tuesday, telling Gov. Ralph Northam he can remove a towering statue of Robert E. Lee despite a promise more than 130 years ago to “faithfully guard … and affectionately protect it.” While the decision […]

COMMENTARY

Portsmouth: where local dysfunction exposes racial fault lines

BY: - October 21, 2020

People in most places would be appalled if the chairman of the court-appointed Electoral Board — which is supposed to guarantee fair and accurate voting — tried to encourage a mayoral candidate to drop out with just weeks left in the campaign. In Portsmouth, the quaint city of just under 100,000 residents in Hampton Roads, […]

COMMENTARY

‘Do something’: Confessions of a reformed Rebel

BY: - October 12, 2020

A Black Lives Matter flag flies proudly in my front yard. I’ve become estranged from people I’ve known forever for insisting that monuments to Confederate figures come down and that peaceful protests over the slayings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other unarmed Black people were not only justified but righteous and overdue. […]

‘Part of the destiny of this country’: Church site excavation aims to unearth African American contributions  

BY: - October 1, 2020

In Colonial Williamsburg, experts are unearthing the foundations of First Baptist Church, among the oldest African American congregations in the country, as part of an attempt to uncover a more complete narrative of early American history, centering the Black people — enslaved and free — who contributed much to the fledgling nation. First Baptist Church, […]