Pocahontas Exception

The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 in Virginia, established laws that fought against “mongrelization,” This article talks about the honorary status of some races as being white and highlights how this shows race to be less of a “biological truth” and more of a social construct. I thought it was interesting that In six other states, similar laws existed that prohibited Indian-White intermarriage: Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina.

Three different articles about the topic of immigration into Virginia

three different articles about the topic of immigration into Virginia

Like many other southeastern states Virginia, is being
transformed by a new and rapid influx of Latino immigrants. There has been a “Latinization” per say throughout the state in many ways through the growth of people of Latin American origin and their demands for cultural respect. Laura Zarrugh’s ‘The Latinization of the Central Shenandoah Valley’ explores in-depth the ways Latinization in Virginia, especially non-traditional immigration spots like the Shenandoah valley has effected the state. The Latinization of places like Harrisonburg is a case study in globalization as it is manifested at the local level. Zarrugh points out that For much of its history, the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains have sheltered and isolated the region from the rest of the world then juxtaposes it with the influx of new immigrants form mostly Latin backgrounds. Zarrugh does based upon long-term ethnographic research, while also tracing oral histories of labor relations and immigration from the last few decades. Looking at the strong influence of the Mennonite Church and closely allied Church of the Brethren on local values and attitudes informed by Anabaptist theology and a tradition of wanting to provide a better life for their families has led to somewhat of a common understanding between Mennonites and immigrants. Harrisonburg is also seeing a massive economic growth at this time which drives unemployment down; brining immigrants to the area; Zarrugh masterfully highlights the role of local agricultural industries. contrasting the 1960s and early 1970s, when most migrant laborers who came
through Rockingham County were African American men from Florida, by the
1980s the migrant camps housed mainly Mexican families. Unlike most of the south African Americans never made up a significant part of the workforce in the Shenandoah Valley, which makes the rise of Latin immigrants unprecedented. In 1982, approximately half of all workers in meat and poultry processing in the United States were unionized and earning US$ 10.69 an hour under United Food and Commercial Worker (UFCW) not in the south, Although there is no evidence that immigrants were used locally as strike breakers, it is well documented that meat-processing companies over time recruited and replaced unionized native-born workers with non-unionized immigrant workers; which has created a antagonism. The poultry-processing plants in the Harrisonburg area during the mid-1980s. On 2 June 1984, 450 workers, 70 per cent of them women, walked out on strike at Marval, this lead to the Union being killed after the Immigrants replaced the workers who went on strike. Rather interesting local labor story there. Zarrugh then looks at the facts that a return to migrants original home’s became more and more unlikely due to community bonds and growing roots. Zarrugh also looks at “daughter communities” and talks about the building of social bonds and the development of said communities.

Perfectly American: Constructing the Refugee Experience by David W. Haines and Karen E. Rosenblum talks about the fact that new refugees face issues unlike any other generation of refugees and yet there is still many common issues. refugees have often been the most visible and challenging of newcomers. They look at The resettlement of refugees in Richmond, Virginia which resulted in a small (but vastly increased) number of people with new social and cultural characteristics and created micro communities within the capital city. They then talk about how the press spins the “success stories” with the garnish of the horror stories from immigration. In its coverage of refugees, the local press appeared relatively unencumbered by the
usual requirements of ‘newsworthiness’. Such stories were treated as outside the
demands of impact or timeliness that usually govern the production of ‘news’. In the process of discussing refugees, press accounts touched on a variety of issues of practical and moral significance to the wider Richmond community; inflating the cities ego while also leaving many within the supposedly successful city suffering. Consequently, the category continued to endure as part of the history of this Southern city at the turn of the century, providing a readily-available construct and moral force for negotiating diversity. They cap the article off with a call for academics to rethink the way we approach complex issues such as Refugee’s at all and reassess the view of these people in the context of a massive global system. “we have an important opportunity to reassess the way key social categories are
constructed and how they present opportunities as well as limitations in a continuingly fluid world of human migration, global development and national retrenchment.”

Defining immigrant newcomers in new destinations: symbolic boundaries in Williamsburg, Virginia by Deenesh Sohoni and Jennifer Bickham Mendez looks at the ways historic Williamsburg uses said status to create boundaries for newcomers. They talk about the ways the media serves as a critical site of cultural and symbolic struggle where ideologies, identities, social meanings and beliefs about the world are negotiated and the role it plays in the construction of social categories of people, and in the creation of distinctions between those who should
and should not be included in the national imagined community. Local journalist only cover national topics informed by grand views; creating a system of isolation for those who are in the community these pieces are being published in. The 1990s also brought a wave of immigration from Latin American countries, While still a small amount of the population was apart of this growth is was the major issue of the time. As this group of culturally distinct newcomers became increasingly visible locally and as immigration surged onto the national agenda, immigration issues became the subject of heated public debate in Williamsburg. They used data from “We base our study on a data set comprised of news articles, letters to
the editors, op-ed pieces, columns and public commentary published
in the Virginia Gazette, the oldest, non-daily newspaper in the USA.
Serving the Greater Williamsburg area, the paper is published twice a
week and enjoys a paid circulation of 16,500″ to find and display the reactionary mindset that garbed Williamsburg; while avoiding some of the pitfalls of discourse analyses that rely solely on subjective interpretations. I think the final lines of this article are really great at highlighting the point of view: “If we can understand the
ways in which interpretative frameworks are adopted, applied and
reconfigured in particular local settings, perhaps we can imagine ways
to counter these representations and render more nuanced understandings of immigration issues that could set the stage for constructing a more inclusive society”

Three articles on Housing Accessibility

‘The African American Housing Crisis in Alexandria, Virginia, 1930s–1960s’ by Krystyn R. Moon; covers Alexandria’s history in the mid-twentieth-century, looking at the ways the white upper class used their power to redefine the neighborhoods of Alexandria. Moon points to the fact that a growing Public Government apparatus needed more and more employees which led to suburbs and communities in Northern Virginia to need to develop land, land which was owned by African American communities already. Moon makes a very interesting assessment about Alexandria pointing to the fact that “Unlike other southern cities of its size, Alexandria had a long history of African American land and homeownership” (33) Moon then shows why this is and gives a brief overview of segregation district’s allowed by VA after 1912 and why Alexandria did not adopt those districts. In the post world war 2 period that growth of Federal government workers lead to an issue that local government leaders turned to the WPA to do a study on housing conditions which led to a slum clearance program. Moon uses a quote form Lawyer Lynn W. Ellis to highlight how this slum clearance program was negatively and directly effecting African American communities; highlighting the high numbers of people displaced and the short turnaround times. In June 1939, the city council created the Alexandria Housing Authority, later known as the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority which reinforced this let’s say war on blight and attempt to remove Black people and bring White people back to Alexandria. AHRA aided in the white local leaders in redrawing Alexandria’s communities by racial lines, a practice that scars the city to this day. In the 1940’s the Federal Housing Association aided in this aswell by reinforcing racial status quo when creating public housing. The city’s first attempt at large-scale urban renewal, using Eminent domain began in 1951, which was met with a large group of local residents fighting back against this due to the fact they were going to lose their homes and businesses. The city kept brining up a new version of this urban renewal project again and again until it honed and Passed in December 1957, the Minimum
Housing-Hygiene. The new act aimed at uptown which was a community of white and black poor people, instead of helping the people there the city focused on the city’s historic commercial corridor. After World War II, African Americans faced continued housing pressures as their population increased and housing decreased. Moon points out that ARHA tended to ignore the needs of black residents and focus on white residents. In the 1960’s the NAACP began to critique the way Alexandria had reshaped itself and began to practice acts civil disobedience like the brave people who went on sit down strike over the lack of library facilities for black residents in the 1930s. The NAACP showed how the Federal Gov’t did not care that Alexandria was segregated and Under mounting pressure, Alexandria’s city council held a closed-door meeting on 21 May 1963 to address desegregation. Alexandria created the Human Rights Ordinance, which for the first time in local law recognized the problems of racial segregation. Alexandria is still haunted by the work of AHRA back in the 40-60s and is working to improve housing rights now. Moon does a great job moving the audience through the history of this interesting and important topic while not getting bogged down by intense scholarship making this topic accessible to the average reader in VA.

“Eminent domain destroys a community: leveling East Arlington to make way for the Pentagon” by Nancy Perry looks at the ways the federal gov’t used eminent domain to create the Pentagon and targeted East Arlington. Eminent domain is a power granted to the government to take privately owned property for the good of the public. Perry does a great job showing modern examples of this by highlighting events people may know about or remember form the news such as one that peaked my interest involving AEP in 2002. Then Perry highlights the legal reason for eminent domain: “The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that the government must award “just compensation” for the losses caused by a taking. Tangible losses, material property such as land and improvements, can be compensated monetarily. The literature discusses at length the compensation awarded for tangible losses. Most often the seller is given fair market value with the taker—the government—setting the price.” Then Perry explains the concept of a demoralization cost and the loss of community. Perry sets out to answer three questions: (1) What losses did the residents of East Arlington incur when their neighborhood was taken? (2) What compensation did the residents of East Arlington receive for those losses? (3) Was the compensation “just” as required by the Constitution? They thusly prosed onto the Theoretical framework ~ Talking about the idea of “taker’s gain” where the gov’t steals land and pays what it determines to be market price, then Perry covers “indemnity”—the government pays the value the owner places on the property, plus all additional costs resulting from the taking; juxtaposing these two concepts directly. Perry shows issues with eminent domain by looking at cased like Mitchell v. United States and Kimball Laundry Co. v. United States. Perry then talks about the two general types of community: gesellschaft and gemeinschaft. After this we get a look at the methods and introduced to the oral histories of individuals who lived in East Arlington until 1942: David, Emma, Eunice, Flornace, James, Pearl, Rachael, Vincion, and Wardell. Perry then covers the fact that America was gearing up for war in 1941, it sought a large amount of land for a new building that could be the new home for the war department; they picked a community that was founded by the descendants of fugitive slaves living in government settlements. The War Department awarded the Pentagon construction contract on 11 September 1941. Leveling the construction site began that very day and pile drivers commenced their 24-hour chorus immediately. Community leaders fought back and they appealed to the first lady but were mostly ignored, met with a slightly less draconian plan for clearing the community. Family’s were met with inconstant temporary housing trailers and some not event that. All the buildings in East Arlington were destroyed. The deed giving title to the Federal
government specified a total compensation of $369,427 ($5,351,456 in 2015 dollars) to be portioned out to the property owners. The eminent domain used for the land appropriation never met the cost in the fourth category and had destroyed a Gameinschaft community in the height of segregation. Perry’s last paragraphy was amazing “The story of the taking of East Arlington to make way for a road network around the brand new Pentagon building is an important story. A small community of hardworking American citizens gave up their homes, their possessions, their jobs, their businesses, and their community to make it easier for the government to run World War II. The purpose of just compensation is to ensure that no party sacrifices more than the others. While all Americans made sacrifices during that period, the residents of East Arlington were asked to make a bigger sacrifice than most. The fact that the residents of the community survived that period and landed on their feet is something they can all be proud of. Thus, this chapter in the history of the community came to an end.” At first I did not like the way Perry presented this article, it came off very scientific and at times like a court brief but after the methods section I began to apricate the choice and style of this piece.

‘Land Development and Racism in Fairfax County’ done by the Washington Suburban institute finds that a major issue in the way the land had been developed has lead to and reinforced institutional racism. which they define as “any polices, programs or practices of an agency, an organization or a group, whether public or private, which cause the exclusion of non-white and low-income people from the benefits enjoyed by the white and the affluent.” Fairfax county is an excellent example of suburban development leading institutional racism. The purpose of this study is to show the land development process is key to how the community is defined by institutional racism and enforces racist policy. They find that the 1930-40s saw a decrease in the importance of agriculture and a growth in suburban living ~ highlighting the phenomenal growth in the 40s. Fairfax followed the lead of the National Capital Planning Commission for the year 200 and endorsed satellite cities along major radial thoroughfares which failed and impacted the development of Fairfax. (this is why we have places like Reston growing in the mid-60s) Board of Supervisors and their staff grow in power of land development – look towards holding zones to control low income housing (targeting minority groups in the process alongside the low income White people) Fairfax did not have much control over public transport like highways. They cover deed transfer systems and how complex they are and the fact that due to there being no black realtors in Northern Virginia board of realtors there was no way Black people could have access to the information to deal with the complex nature of deeds and housing laws. This is all very technical and complex but the commission finds that it is made increasing difficult for Minority groups such as African Americans to create and maintain generational wealth for decades and we are still plagued by this issue. The communities defined by low income and Minorites are also facing major issues with ecological damage and pollution due to the county restricting their access to housing in a de facto measure.

All three of these articles talk about the history of NOVA communities disenfranchising minorities and reinforcing institutional racism. As Perry points out this is not a purely NOVA issue it happens all over the country. Moon’s article gives major insight to the people on the ground and shows how the structures at play fight and are fought, reading Moon’s article first established an interesting mindset for the rest of these assigned; reshaping the way I view this topic. I found it rather interesting that the 1930-40s was a time that played such as massive role in this development. Great reads.

Southern Stalemate

While we have talked about it vaguely in class before the fact that Prince Edward County would rather shut down it’s school system then desegregate is still bewildering to me. Christopher Bonastia does a great job at showing a brief overview of Prince Edward and the area around it from the time it was settled to Brown V. Board, while not fully comprehensive it does a great job creating a stage for our story to play out and is a great touch to this piece. Learning about Isreal Hill and the story of John Mercer Langston (first Black member of congress in VA) set an sense of intrigue to usher in the main point for me the reader. I think Bonastia’s best move here is breaking how to understand the school closing into 9 bullets simplifying this complex moment in history to a place where the general audience (and weary researcher) can easily digest, then interested in the larger topics like Griffin v school board of Prince Edward county for example. The view adopted that educated citizenry was seen as a threat to the entrenched upper-class and the idea that they justified keeping the working class and proletaries out of school by blaming it on ” blacks wanting integration over education” ( 7) is a powerful argument that hits hard!

This piece is very exciting and could easily be turned into a movie or TV show with the amount of great one liners that are peppered in throughout in the cases my favorite being the section header “Face the dawn and not the setting sun” (13). The tone and pacing here is an example of an author who has a mastery of the pen and the subject at hand which comes together to bring this history alive in the eyes of the audience. I feel as if the section on modified segregation does a great job at commanding the attention of the reader especially on page 36 and 37 talking about the growing power behind their suit and the changing of the times exemplified by the line “They have electricity now, and they are buying tractors to replace their mules. nobody bosses them.” Personally this section made me very excited ~

The years of statewide massive resistance and how a single county played into it makes such an interesting moment in this states history, seeing the ways Black people fought back against White supremacy in this era and in this region is super fascinating; I really like how Bonastia highlights the importance of education and independence for each family for the activist for civil rights.

I think Bonastia does a great job at showing and highlighting that the fight for civil rights was not won in a day, that (as the chapter suggest) their can be no middle ground and that there is no overnight moral awaking, the fight is always ongoing. There will always be a fight to protect civil rights and education rights for all; there are people who benefit from the poor and downtrodden from not having access to quality education and they will do anything they can to keep themselves in power.

Climate disruption: The luxury of taking for granted

The legacy of environmental damage is so evident in Virginia. the fossil fuels and fracked natural gas that has played a massive role in VA’s economy for a very long time. From the Coal of Southwest Virginia to the Dominion pipeline it is undeniable that Virginia has played a role minimal as it may be in contributing to the growing issues we face with climate change. This is why I think it was a really smart choice to start this story with a description of the whole state from Richmond to Glasgow. Looking at the issue of private industry taking over the conversation both politically and the mind of the people. I think something Nash channels well in this book is the urgency of the climate issues and the vastness of it within the state, with lines such as “we are moving out of the patterns to which we’re accustomed and into variations that will be new, at times radical, and not as predictable.” grabs the attention of the reader and makes it land at home due to the context that it will be affecting everyone in the state. Nash also does a great job highlighting the work people are doing on this issue like Stenger running the entire Climatology office. With many figures that show progression in time Nash makes this topic that is entrenched deeply in scientific jargon easily accessible for the general reader in VA. I felt generally optimistic with Nash’s reading although the topic is a nightmare as Nash so promptly put’s it, juxtaposed with Chesapeake Requiem it reads a lot more like there is something we can easily do compared to an island and culture being destroyed. Nash shows us the people working to save VA from itself, which I personally think was a very nice touch that tips Climate fever into something I want to keep reading.

Chesapeake requiem: “Every island fled away”

To start this blog I want to say I found myself enjoying the structure and tone of Earl Swift’s literal muck-raking work in the Chesapeake: the opening displays Swift’s stylistic choices and story telling structure. Opening on a story of traveling after a storm and finding a human skull and a submerged grave, hooking the audience immediately and establishing a serious and life defying tone. Then in chapter 1 the opening listing the abandoned islands all around the Chesapeake like James Island, Sharps Island, and Holland Island. The story of the lives being uprooted and the world being turned upside down is so effective at installing the sense of agency that will prosiest throughout the rest of the work. The immediate and massive threat of global warming in the region (and the world) comes through immediately so when Tangier is brought up with the claim that it will be gone in 50 years or so it sets in. The connection between these islands that were abandoned before the turn of the century and a community that is loved by the people in the bay and Northern Virginia. I love the interview with Leon and the last lines of that chapter ring out and cement the tone of the work “save the birds, Kill the people.” I think it’s very effective that Swift then turns to the livelihoods of the people who live and work on the bay; the folks who get the crabs and the shoremen. The line “how many empty houses can there be?” was so devastating. The story that begins here is so amazing it needs to be read. This documentary journalistic style is so powerful and enriches the story of the bay and adds a devastating and human touch to this story that needs to be addressed quickly before it’s too late.

This work is really incredibly powerful and is very effective, this needs to be read.