Charlottesville 2017

The first article offers an overview and traces a through line starting with a highschooler who started a petition in 2016 to get the Robert E. Lee statue removed. Over the course of a year, white supremacist groups and other racially motivated groups became aware and very involved in this petition going to the Charlottesville City Council. The removal of statues became a hot topic and a highly contested one throughout the community. It spurred larger discussions about free speech and other rights protected by the Constitution. The article goes into the history and controversy that always has surrounded the Stonewall Jackson monument and the Robert E. Lee statue. The second article is written by an individual who was on the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission. The Commission advised the city to remove the two statues and the article discusses the various reasons for their decision. It also includes the city’s options that the commission suggested, the first being the basic removal and relocation of the statue, then the second would be the same, with the added complete reimagining of the statues and including interpretive text to provide context of the Jim Crow era. The author contemplates his role in the riots and explains his actions on the days of the protest. The rest of the second article discusses similar issues, both in Virginia history, as well as modern day. The third article discusses the basis of antisemitism and the origins of blood purity and its effects. It ties together the events in 2017 to the emotions and hatred that fuel antisemitism. It offers a deep dive into human emotions and how they contradict logic and reason. This article ends with how history can inform and show us how antisemitism has developed over time. The next article is written by a Jewish individual who witnessed the riot. She discusses the chants and songs used by the protesters, many promoting ethnic cleansing and other anti semitic views. She also gives background context to the major event in August, by including other previous protests that happened at UVA both before and after the major one. She analyzes the songs and the history of Jewish people associated with UVA and how they have faced antisemitism in the past. The final article discusses the event itself and the aftermath of August 2017, specifically how the institution of UVA reacted to the riot. The author discusses the importance of UVA’s reaction to this and how they can learn from Johns Hopkins’ approach to their relationship with the greater Baltimore area and community. The article breaks down the role of universities in their communities into subsections, starting with taxes, local government, and overall social responsibility. This talks about the economics of the university and how if they were not tax exempt, the millions of dollars from the university would go to local infrastructure and city maintenance, which the university would benefit from. The second section discusses the growth and university expansion, which has displaced locals and has harmed the local housing market and homelessness issues in the city and the surrounding areas. The next subsection discusses the job market and how wages in Charlottesville, specifically within the university, are not livable. It mentions the high turnover rate and the burnout many employees experience, including students and staff members. The article ends with recommendations to how UVA can better serve the community and do better with their social responsibilities. These include encouraging students to take part in the improvement and implementation of the listed suggestions and how UVA can become a leader for universities to become more socially responsible and connected with the local community.

How May I Help You?

The first chapter introduced Deepak’s struggle as a part of the working class and working in customer service. It also introduced the stereotypes that he encountered. In chapter two, he talks about growing up in India and the expectations that his parents had for him in terms of behavior, education, and his future family. However, he meets an American and marries her. He ends up going to the US and gawks at how the reality of the country is so different from what you see in movies or tv. Deepak notes that he felt unwelcomed and an overall cold feeling towards him. He discusses his challenge for getting a work permit and a subsequent job, however, he kept hitting obstacles such as getting interviews, or getting his background check done. The next part of the book discusses his training and starting at his first job in the US and the challenges he faced, including his coworkers and boss not being understanding or assisting him. He writes about his personal struggles talking to people and answering their questions, and he notes that he studied this in school, but nothing could have prepared him for American customers. He also notes the language barrier to be a prominent factor for his struggles. Half way through the book, he starts to realize that his coworkers and supervisor are interested in his culture and where he came from and starts asking him questions. This of course comes with stereotypes but answers their questions since he understands that they just want to get to know him. As he bonded and became closer with his coworkers, Deepak became more successful and confident at his job. He also learns about the dos and don’ts of addressing people, based on their race or sexuality. This comes from experiences he has with his coworkers who are African-Americans and his supervisor, who’s a lesbian. The book continues to balance Deepak’s home and work life. He and Holly got their own place and made some Indian friends, all the while it is the Holiday Season and Deepak is having problems at work with his friends’ families coming from India and them not wanting to tell them that their friend is a salesman, out of being ashamed and judged by their families. He also is dealing with the increase of customers and the sheer amount and needs they demand from him at work. Towards the end of the book, Deepak has to learn to deal with a morally ambiguous coworker who was bending the standards to his benefit and eventually was fired due to Deepak reporting his behavior. He also realized he had worked at the company for a year and was getting paid a decent amount, which was more than most of his coworkers, but he felt sad for them. The book ends with him going back to India to visit his family and friends and realizing how different it is now that he is so accustomed to American traditions. When he returned to his job, his coworkers, who became his friends overtime had quit and his supervisor suggested that he consider becoming a manager. The book traces Deepak’s struggle from rags to riches, but also adds a few barriers throughout to not sugarcoat or fantasize the reality that he experienced as an immigrant in America.

Public in Name Only

Public in Name Only is a microhistory of one of the first library sit-ins in the nation. This protest was similar to other nonviolent protests about equality and civil rights. It was organized and led by Samuel Wilbert Tucker, who was a young, black, native Alexandrian, who was also a local attorney. He was inspired by previous NAACP higher-education cases and lawsuits, as well as grassroots movements. The protest was to get the attention of the library board and Alexandria city council. The sit-in was planned to be right after the 30th annual conference of the NAACP in the summer of 1939 in Richmond, VA. The first part of Tucker’s plan was for his friend to apply to a library card and get denied. He legally ordered the library to grant him the card. In preparation of the sit-in, he trained local young black men in tactics used in nonviolent protests and civil disobedience. After the sit-in during August of 1939, all the protesters went to court and Tucker served as their attorney. In retrospect, it is possible that the judge and prosecution had a conflict of interest, being involved in the library and the city politics. Eventually, a separate branch of the library is opened for only people of color to use.

The introduction of the book provides essentially the thesis and an overview of everything that will be covered. The first chapter discusses the history of education for people of African descent from the first European Settlements through until the 1930s. This chapter also includes history of black journalists and the history of libraries and how different libraries approached segregated or integrated library branches, the first being in the late 19th century. Chapter 2 sets the context about the social and civic inequalities and discrimination in the 1930s. It also discusses Samuel Wilbert Tucker’s family and personal history leading up to and after the sit-ins in 1939. It also includes the history of the NAACP and their founding, as well as their involvement in education discrimination for students and teachers, such as the teacher’s union in Norfolk in 1937.

Chapter 3 begins with the history of Alexandria, starting in prehistory and continuing through the Colonial Era, Reconstruction post Civil War, as well as focusing on the race relations leading up to the Civil War and the want for equal jobs and freedom. The chapter ends in the Great Depression, which is when the sit-ins take place. Chapter 4 is all about the Jim Crow Era. It starts with Reconstruction and the beginnings of violence, political disenfranchisement, segregation, boycotts, and oppression. The fifth chapter goes from talking about general information about libraries in Virginia and the history, to focus on the one in Alexandria. The library in Alexandria suffers from economic difficulties, all the while they are expanding and building more spaces. The latter part of the chapter discusses the effects after the sit-ins, but not direct outcomes, as well as the library from the Civil Rights Movement to today. Chapter six focuses on the motivation and purpose behind the sit-ins, but also general nonviolent protests. It highlights the fact that everyone during this time was used to the status quo and knew the societal norms and expectations. However, local activism, specifically the picket line in DC to protest against lynching directly motivated Tucker to lead the protest.

Chapter 7 is all about the sit-in. It starts with the library board meetings to ask to open a separate branch for the African-American community members. This would follow the separate but equal clause, but the board deemed it to be too expensive. During the sit-in on August 21, 1939, six young men participated and were escorted out quietly by the police after an hour. Samuel Wilbert Tucker met the men at the courthouse and represented the men in court proceedings. The library board increased road blocks for people of color to get access to the library. After a lot of pressure, the board agreed to open a separate branch, but the construction of the building was rushed, very small, and included few books, none of which included people of color in them. The chapter ends with the aftermath and how the library’s resources were used by local black schools. Chapter 8 discusses the effects of the sit-in, such as pressuring local authorities, and indirectly led to local, state, and national laws to ban segregation, especially in academic and community settings. It goes further to discuss the importance of libraries and how the protesters were trailblazers and pioneers who paved the way for future sit-ins and nonviolent protests. The epilogue wraps everything up, but not into the neat bow as one might expect, rather, it discusses the City of Alexandria dropping all charges in 2019 and the library hosting a ceremony and programs to engage the community. There is also a biography of Samuel Wilbert Tucker now published, as well as the sit-in is part of the curriculum taught in Virginia. However, the book ends on a bitter note with a statement from the American Library Association, essentially forgetting the institutionalized racism embedded in the history of libraries in the US.

The Virginia Way

The Virginia Way is “the corporate centric philosophy by which the state government has been run since colonial times.” The text discusses the monopoly that Dominion Energy has on the entire state. The first part begins with the state government approving companies to exploit privately owned land and use it for energy purposes. The company has used government money they have received to bribe legislators to gain political influence. More recently more free market supporters have been elected and are slowly weakening the influence Dominion has on the state. However, as other companies have tried to compete for influence, the prices have drastically increased and are harming everyone from every class. There have been political upheavals that have made bipartisan economic consensus more possible, it will take a long time or something major to knock Dominion off their pedestal of influence and power.