Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Town's Racial Relations History

This has been copied from the Charlottesville Daily Progress and was published: September 19, 2008.

Honestly, I was going to rest the blog today but 2 items are worthy of comments and sharing. I found this newspaper article published 9/19/08 in he Charlottesville, Virginia Daily Progress of interest because it indicates the status of racial relations in the Southern States as late as the mid 50s. Less we forget, racial intolerance extended until well past the 67/68 riots in the North. Sadly, intolerance is still with us although in urban and suburban areas the roles are often reversed. It would be a shame that if in this Presidential election intolerance and prejudice are determining factors. The article;

"It’s a shameful scar in Charlottesville’s history — but locals who attended a commemoration marking the 50th anniversary of Massive Resistance to school integration said that piece of history should not be forgotten.


The ceremony was held Friday on the Downtown Mall, where speakers and several dozen attendees reflected on the effect Massive Resistance has had on Charlottesville.


“I think if we want to build a better future, we have to look at the sicknesses of our past that might still be lingering on,” said attendee Erin Nourse, a University of Virginia graduate student studying African religions.


In 1958, a federal judge ordered that black students be admitted into Charlottesville schools —10 at Venable Elementary School, and two at Lane High School.


Opposing integration, the Virginia General Assembly enacted Massive Resistance laws, allowing the governor to close schools rather than integrate. Lane and Venable were closed on Sept. 19, 1958, and were not reopened until Feb. 4, 1959, after the federal court and Virginia Supreme Court declared Massive Resistance laws unconstitutional.


“It was a reasonably unique situation to Charlottesville,” said George Gilliam, who teaches Virginia history at UVa. “The teachers for those schools were still on the public payroll, and so the parents whose kids were affected, or some of them, got together and they opened up their basements or their TV rooms” for teachers to conduct classes.


Friday’s commemoration included speakers, music and a wreath-laying to honor black families who sued to have their children integrated into white schools.


Four years ago, the 50th anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education was celebrated, former Councilor Kendra Hamilton said, but the Massive Resistance anniversary “was in danger of passing” without notice.


“More than 1,700 students were thrown on the streets … all because 12 little boys and girls and their parents had claimed their constitutional right to an equal education under the law,” said Hamilton, who co-organized the commemoration.


“I say we engage and defeat the modern-day manifestations of Jim Crow when we come to together and dare to remember together,” Hamilton said.


Gilliam shares the sentiment. “If you don’t realize how hard it was and how mean and angry the fights were to get these rights, you don’t appreciate the rights,” Gilliam said. “Unless you know that patriots have spilled blood, you don’t appreciate the revolution.”'

JG's blog on Plainfield crime is of interest. How much is factual and what is political gas is a question. I hope to find a copy of the slides shown during the August "town meeting" for review. If I remember correctly there was a significant improvement in homicides from 2006 to 2007, but there were 2 in the first 6 months of 2008 versus 4 in all of 2007; no change. As to overall crimes there was a 15% reduction 2006 to 2007 but prorated there will be an increase of of 22.5% on the prorated 6 months 2008 numbers. If this holds true that will be greater than the peak 2006 year. As I noted these numbers must be checked or brought up to date.

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