Pocahontas Exception

This article discusses the Racial Integrity Act. This act made marriage between a white person and a non-white person illegal. For this article in particular, we are looking at native Americans and how this affected marriages and future families. During this time individuals who were one-sixteenth or less Native American were considered white… this is going to end up causes issues. The creation of the Pocahontas Exception allowed interracial children to be legally seen as white. This exception was a result of Pocahontas and John Rolfe’s relationship because Rolfe was white man and Pocahontas was a Native American woman. This idea is interesting to me but not shocking, because during this time the US was very focused on keeping the “white lineage” in families and not creating interracial relationships. This idea of white and non-whites not being able to marry is brought up again in Loving v. Virginia, which is focusing on African Americans and whites marrying each other. I have always found it interesting but also irritating that people in power put so much energy and time into keeping people apart, when who someone loves is no ones business besides the ones in the relationship.

Charlottesville 2017

The reading this week honestly made me feel a little weird because this was not too long ago and I can completely remember it. It isn’t very often that we get to discuss history that we were alive during or even remember.

The book us full of pieces written by professors and faculty at the University of Virginia who share their views and experiences with the riots and protests that occurred in 2017. The first section was about a young student who petitioned school council to remove the Robert E Lee statue that had been grounded for many years. The student along with other council members agreed that this statue resembled the history of white supremacy in Charlottesville and acted as a reminder. Upheaval from this ongoing discussion in local politics, 2 white nationalists planned an “invasion” of the city…. the riots of 2017. First it was Robert E Lee, then it quickly went to other statues like Stonewall Jackson too. This section opened my eyes to the fact that many times today and throughout history it is young people that make the first step and lean on adults to help them make the change.

The second section talks about the works of the Blue Ribbon Commission in Charlottesville. I thought this section was interesting because it talked about more than just statues. There are many ways that society has tried to glorify or “protect” history instead of acknowledging the wrong doings. Historical artifacts like slave auction blocks, the creation of memorial parks, and others are ways that history is shared but not in a respectful or appropriate way.

The third section was about antisemitism in the rallies in Charlottesville. The biggest takeaway I got was that these rioters did not try to hide the antisemitism or the racism in any way. They were completely okay with what they were saying and doing. The streets were filled with hate during the rallies in 2017, complete hatred. The author is encouraging acknowledgment and unity because these antisemitism views were some of our darkest days in history.

The final section was about UVA and the local communities reflection and debate of the aftermath of 2017 happenings. It has sparked more conversations about race, poverty, and inequalities both historical and current. UVA as an educational institution has been engaged in efforts to acknowledge the use of slavery at the university. As UVA gained more public attention during these riots of 2017, the school is using this as a way to create a new national model of institutional responsibility and community commitment. Local authorities have looked into housing and wage issues as well as higher educational opportunities to try to do their part.

Week 11

Identity and Assimilation among Young Ethiopian Immigrants was all about Ethiopian immigrants moving to America and trying to decide to keep their culture or assimilate. I find it really interesting to talk about cultural assimilation because I think that often times this goes unnoticed. These young Ethiopian immigrants discussed how second generation immigrants often times are lost to assimilation and loose their ability to speak their native language. When it comes to school aged children, the school system plays a large role in assimilation because these children are being exposed to at the least a new culture and language. Assimilation brings new values or thoughts to personal identity for Ethiopian immigrants as they try to navigate a new place, culture, language, and possibly a new identity.

Hybrid Sensibilities focuses more on first generation Asian Indian immigrants and their success in Washington D.C. I think it is interesting to read about the treatment after the 9/11 attack and how some immigrants are still facing these false assumptions. This article points to the fact that many of these first generation immigrants are highly educated, speak clear English, and still continue with some cultural traditions. These are examples of assimilation but sometimes seen as half assimilation because they have “Americanized” some of their life but not all of it.

The last article Feminised Financial Flows talks about the reasonings behind sending your family money as an immigrant. Men often times migrate to find better job opportunities as a way to provide for their family whereas women often times leave as a result of the inequalities they are facing in their native countries. The labour market for U.S. immigrants is a factor at play; women are more likely to send money back to families even thought they usually are earning less. For women, many who migrate for work feel a sense of independence and success because they are making their own money and providing for themselves although they are dependent of male employers so it can get a little complex.

New Immigrants

The Latinization of Central Shenandoah Valley discusses the large influx of Latino individuals and families in the Harrisonburg area. In many southern states, including Virginia, many immigrants are planting themselves in rural communities. The author created the term Latinization as a way to describe the dramatic growth of the Latino population in Harrisonburg. This diversity brings forth many other idea sand challenges such as affordable housing, employment, new cultural interests, and education. Many immigrants find work in the poultry and apple industry throughout the Central Shenandoah Valley. Along with the work within poultry and apple industry Harrisonburg also has been known for its involvement with refugee settlement programs and active local churches which is appealing to immigrant families and individuals.

In Perfectly American we read that although America has been a place of refugee settlement for decades the opinions of the nations are still diverse. Many people point to the “characteristics of Americans” when making their opinions on refugees. For example, many describe refugees as “hard workers” or “ready to work” which brings a positive outlook to the label. The label “refugee” tends to spark questions regarding identity as refugees, as immigrants, and as Americans.

Defining Immigrant Newcomers in New Destinations talks about immigration in Williamsburg Virginia. This new “immigration destination” has brought about a variety of media coverage. The media and others within the Williamsburg community tend to point out the “local boundaries” between them and the “others” which has an impact on immigrant communities. With immigration comes population growth and economic development follows as a result which is seen as positive and challenging. As Williamsburg continues to become a “new destination” the housing market, education system, and job field have to adjust to the demographic and culture transition as it arises.

Housing Accessibility

This week we had three articles.

The first one being “The African American Housing Crisis in Alexandria, Virginia, 1930s-1960s.” discussed how many African Americans found themselves without a home or a less desirable home in Alexandria Virginia. During this time, post WWII African Americans were continued to be seen as unclean or less than but in this situation it had to do with living environments. As a result of white elites in Alexandria, many African Americans were forced out of their homes and placed within segregated communities distant from their white counterparts. The urban renewal of areas in Alexandria have attempted to fix these racial segregation issues but even today, these racist land developments and limited housing availability are still at the forefront. This article reminded me of the conversations we had last week about segregation in schools in Prince Edward County because even when schools were integrated they still really weren’t completely and we continue to face issues with segregation in schools today.

The second article, “Eminent Domain Destroys a Community…” highlights the unfortunate event of our government clearing African American housing communities to make room to build the Pentagon. This idea of taking over property and giving funds to relocate never seems to go as planned. The government forced this community out of their homes in order to build, but didn’t give enough funds for individuals to find housing. Many families and individuals were left in uncertainty of where to live. Although the government did provide public housing the availability became an issue. These East Arlington residents were not properly compensated for what the government took away from them.

The third article, “Land Development and Racism in Fairfax County” sheds light on the institutional racism in Fairfax County. African Americans were shunned from living in suburban communities because white residents “feared” them. This county has a history racial discriminatory practices within land development and financing (loans and money markets). African American realtors and lawyers in Fairfax County are few and far between due to the embedded racism. Due to the lack of African American individuals in positions of power these communities are not well represented and have a more difficult time fighting for housing equality in Fairfax County.

Southern Stalemate

This week we are talking about racial segregation and the push for desegregation in schools, specifically Prince Edward County. The schools in Prince Edward County decided to not comply with federal law and close their schools instead of integrating them. Many Virginians were in agreement that our treatment of Blacks was more humane than anywhere else in the south so it wasn’t a big deal. In 1951, black students joined together to protest their unequal facilities and overcrowded building at Moton High school in Prince Edward County. This walk out was one of many ways Black Virginians showed their support for integration of schools.

One thing that I found really interesting throughout his reading was that Prince Edward county actually ended up with “reverse integration” meaning white students were trickling into highly black populated schools once the schools reopened. This reverse integration was due tot he county’s placement in the black belt. Throughout the multiple years of fighting for integration, Prince Edward County officials were determined to do everything in their power to keep their schools segregated. When schools were finally reopened in 1964 after the government refused funding to segregated schools and court cases were brought before the Supreme Court, legal representatives encouraged Virginia to adjust themselves/the curriculum for the fact that hundreds of Black and some white students haven’t been in schools for years. Even after Prince Edward County schools were ordered to integrate, it took many years to be fully integrated and Black students and families felt very discouraged and unsupported by their education system.

Climate Fever

Virginia has been experiencing climate change for many years and if we continue as we have been it will only get worse. Nash’s article gives in depth details from a report of Virginia’s changing weather. Virginia’s temperatures are raising and it is predicted that by the year 2050 our temperatures will be similar to South Carolina which is crazy to me! I have always felt like Virginia has some weird days of temperatures because of where we sit geographically; we aren’t super south but we aren’t super north either. The temperature shifts are not a new concept which makes me wonder why we wait so long to act on it. Virginia’s climate change has endangered species, water bodies, and forests. Species like grizzly bears, the checkered spot butterfly, and the seaside sparrow which shows us that climate change has effected species in different parts of the environment. The limited amount of effort put forth by the state of Virginia for climate change relief makes it seem like they can’t see all the harm- or don’t care about all the harm.

Tangier Island

This reading was super interesting. Throughout the exploration of the Tangier island it was discovered that the water that once provided for its people for centuries was now a threat to its future. Erosion and global warming will influence the water body and be a cause for its decline. Some see this as a part of “natures cycle” and not a human issue which is often times not heard of in todays time because humans have such an impact on the environment. The people of Tangier island could be considered the first climate change refugees in the US.

In the Tangier island, blue crab is a main source of food and income. The people on Tangier island are watermen- working the water all day long. Many crabbers will start their catches early in the morning because when you start in the coolest part of the day it maximizes the amount of crabs caught. Other workers on the island synchronize or adjust their schedules around the watermen. Men on Tangier work on tugboats, as boat captains, and even marine police officers. Women, white women in particular, are few and far between on Tangier island.

The language spoken on Tangier island was similar to Tagalog or Navajo. Within the schools there were very few students and teachers due to the amount of people on the island. What is taught in the schools incorporates religion and there is not an issue; they bring in their Christian beliefs to allow the children to see the importance.

When it comes to the future of the island, it settles in the hands of the small population left. There are very few people still living on Tangier island and inhabiting the land and resources. I think as long as there is crab for the watermen to fish they will stay because that is what they rely on for their livelihood. This island is not sustainable though because so many people that leave (children) never return.

Strolling along the Rappahannock River and Canal

I was unable to attend the class trip to the Rappahannock River so I walked the Heritage Trail and Canal Path Loop. During my walk I notice many things; the pretty water, many historical markers, and a good amount of dogs which was a plus!

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While I was walking I stopped to read the historical markers to learn about what happened along the river. I couldn’t help but think about all the things we discussed in class this week. I was trying to imagine people fishing for shad and then going back home to make salt fish. I caught myself multiple times trying to imagine living off the river. One of the historical signs talked about flooding in Fredericksburg and had pictures of how bad it was. Like we talked about in class, building on the flood plains is not a smart idea because your property will get destroyed. Native Americans, especially the Rappahannock tribe, were very cautious of possible flooding and planned accordingly as a way to keep themselves and their belongings. I passed a trail entrance that I think led to where the Embrey Dam was before it got removed. At the end of my walk I thought about how much activity goes on, in, and around the river. Because of all this activity the river gets dirty and habitats get destroyed. I feel special to be able to live so close to such a historical and still influential body of water. I am excited to continue to learn about Virginia in this course and the history that surrounds us!

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Oral Histories

The Rappahannock River is largely significant to the Fredericksburg area, even more than I realized. After watching these videos I got to understand its importance from three very different perspectives.

Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe shared lots of insight. This tribe is matrilineal, meaning their leaders are historically women which I find super fascinating. I thought it was interesting when Chief said she thought the name suited her tribe perfectly because they have “ebbed and flowed” with power for many years. Her tribe has used the Rappahannock River to travel, to eat, and to train warriors. I loved her message about the eagles being “messengers from the Creator.” Her views on fracking were exactly what I thought they would be and her words were the perfect choice.

John Tippett brought more of a policy conversation to the table which was very informative. His upbringing of higher education, many internship hours, and experience has shaped his thoughts and actions. While working at Friends of the Rappahannock he shared that the Embrey Dam was quite the fuss due to its safety concerns and financial restraints from the City and state. Tippett said “the most important thing for the organization is to be a proactive force for the river.” I think that with knowledgable individuals like John Tippett the Rappahannock river will see a successful future.

James Pitt brought a more historical view to the Rappahannock river and I enjoyed his stories. I think being able to understand the ways that the river was used in the past helps figure out the best way for it to be used in the present. I thought it was interesting that he said when the stock market crashed his family had no idea because they were so poor already. After he shared his stories of fishing for salt fish and watching steamboats float on the river I can see how drastically things have changed.