“Chesapeake Requiem”: Blog Post #8

Part Two: The Lord Tells the Water

This section of the book discusses how crabbers can determine the size of their crabs and some of the current policies that are in place for the Bay. Some of the locals that the author, Earl Swift, interviews have an issue with those writing these policies because they aren’t familiar with the area and are usually impractical to implement. One of the chapters discusses the different crabbing areas and where some of the popular spots are. There is also mention of the flooding that does on in the Hampton Roads Area and that the region’s “relative sea level is rising even faster than Tangier’s,” (115) since the population has tapped into underground aquifers for water, thus draining the land. It is predicted that by 2045 that the Bay will rise about two feet, which will put Tangier into more danger than it already is in. This section also includes how the crab population has somewhat decreased which has caused crabbers to go to different locations around the island in search of crabs. The eighth chapter includes how millions of bushels of oysters were pulled up from the Bay in 1884 and that since then the numbers have dropped. Water disputes plagued the 1890s and caused watermen to fight for where their pots were going to go. I thought that the ninth chapter was really interesting because I love eating crab and it is really nice knowing where my crab comes from when I decide to have it. My family and I eat a lot of crab during the summers and it is really easy to tell what is and isn’t Chesapeake Bay crab. I also really liked the emphasis on pot-to-plate. The last two chapters focus on how the winds can affect the fisherman and how there is a constant struggle with finances for those on the island since it is a pricey business.

Part Four: A People Anointed

I found this section to be the most interesting of the three – I honestly never thought that the island would be home to a lot of Trump supporters or be as religious as they are. I think that the part of supporting Trump and him calling one of the islanders was more surprising than anything. This is a very religious community and it doesn’t seem like they would have a drug or alcohol problem, yet they do. In the first section, Swift doesn’t allude to how bad it can get, but this section was really revealing of it. The island’s biggest issue with this, besides going against Christian morals, is that they aren’t sure where it is coming from or who is selling it. There has been the suggestion to put up lights at selling places or to bring in investigators, but none of the islanders are taking the initiative. Swift does talk about how outsiders feel when they are there and that though it is a welcoming community, it does not seem like they want people to stay for long periods of time. It seemed like this with the chapter about the Jewish family – they didn’t feel welcome because of the cross painted on the water tower and no one else in the community found an issue with it.

Part Five: The Sea is Come Up

The first chapter of this section talks about Virginia officials have given the oysters in the Bay a boost by establishing a rotating system on the state’s public rocks. This means that each one gets to rest one to two years between harvests. When he writes about the tastes of the oysters, it made me really want oysters. Now I need to go find some! The next chapter discussed what happened to Jason and Ed Charnock and their boat, the Henrietta C. Though what happened to them was really tragic, I think that this was really important to include because it is something that happens to those on the island. It also shows that some of the men lack the equipment needed to be found in events like this were to happen to them. I was not surprised by how this community got together and went out to look for Ed and Jason despite the weather conditions and that they knew they really needed their help. The last chapter wraps up Swift’s time on the island and how he experienced life there. He writes that the community is starting to struggle since companies are finding other sources for crab and oyster with those sources having better/faster shipping techniques. There is a huge push to have a sea wall built to help protect the land for years to come. I thought that it was interesting that some of the islanders don’t see the sea-levels rising or that there isn’t anything affecting them when it can physically be seen. I definitely want to follow this community now to see what happens over the next few years.

Fight for the Bay: Blog Post #7

Chapter 1

This chapter introduces the Dark Green vs. Light Green theories and how the Dead Political Zones come into the mix. With Dark Green, one side of thought is that humans are part of nature and that the human-nature divide is an artificial construct, which is destructive for both humans and nature. But this idea is not entirely about conserving the area, but about asserting the human “right” of being able to experience nature. Light Green is more about holding ourselves responsible for what we do to and in our surrounding environments. With this theory, we have to be more apt to compromise to changes and ways to help. On the other side, Cornucipians might desire to behave in an environmentally friendly behavior, but they don’t view themselves responsible for protecting nature. For this area, the Chesapeake Bay is considered a political dead zone because it is “a political environment that has been robbed of its political will, the equivalent to oxygen in a natural system, and consequently no longer support meaningful environmental innovations” (10). This approach has not been successful in conserving the Bay. The oyster industry is near collapse, crabs (like me) are stressed, there’s mercury in the water, and there is no money for improvements.

Chapter 2

The second chapter discusses the different ways individuals and groups have tried to save the Bay and what has come from it. But this area needs environmental management to help fix the issues that are currently present or ones that will appear in the future. There have been several attempts, though, to manage the Bay – the 1960s with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the 1970s with the county commissioner from Calver County, Maryland, and promises made by presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter to improve/protect the Bay. Political dead zones like the Bay are really dangerous because politicians have failed to protect one of the largest estuaries which can end up affecting the rivers and streams that flow off of the Bay. Whenever my family and I drive to Delaware, we go over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and I’ve noticed that every summer there seem to be less people sitting on the beach or swimming in the water.

Chapter 4

The last chapter was written by guest writers who are all activists and advocates for the Bay. These individuals are engaged in their own “advocacy jubilee” (75) and have struggled with in the political dead zone in the efforts to achieve environmental policies for the Bay. Anne Pearson discussed how she was trying to get community planning off and running for her own community to better combat issues within her community. This plan did not work out, but she learned how empowering it can be to protect a community’s heritage landscape and history. Gerald W. Winegard writes about his fight to ban phosphorus’ and nitrogen from cleaning detergents since those had been documented as the major culprits in the Bay’s decline. Tyla Matteson wrote about fighting against a planned reservoir that would cut through historic native land and could possibly fail, endangering lives. Mike Shay wrote about protesting the introduction of Safeway stores in his area and how the addition of such store would affect the surrounding community and the Bay. The last guest writer, Bernie Fowler, stressed that rivers are “microcosms” of the Bay and that all the rivers go to the Bay, so if the Bay goes, so do the rivers.

I found this reading to be really interesting because I live so close to the Bay. I wasn’t entirely aware of everything going on with the Bay but did know how bad it has started to become. I found the last chapter to be really interesting with everyone’s suggestions and see what locals to the Bay have done to help protect it.

Link for Video for Monday/Wednesday!

Hey friends! Please watch the linked video for next week as we will be discussing it along with the Fight for the Bay book. The video is called Tidewater (available through Kanopy)​, and it looks at the impact of global warming on military bases in the Chesapeake.  Most people don’t think about the location of military bases, and global warming.  If you don’t have enough time to watch the whole thing as it is 45 minutes, that is fine because we’ll be showing the first few minutes and some clips.

Link to Tidewater: https://umw.kanopy.com/video/tidewater 

Love, Mack and Michelle!

Un-Damming the Rappahannock: Blog Post #7

Chief Anne Richardson is the fourth consecutive generation to lead the Rappahannock tribe. She explained that the meaning of the tribes’ name is “the people who live where the water rises and falls.” She then gave a brief history of the tribe pre- and post-colonial contact and the events during the colonial era. She described how the Rappahannock tribe was affiliated with the Powhatan Confederacy during this time. A majority of the interview is focused on the tribe’s relationship with the river and how that relationship has evolved over time. She explains that when the tribe was pushed out of the area, it caused two generations to have little to no experience with the river and that now there is a focus from tribe elders to reestablish this connection. She also voiced an opinion on recent fracking efforts in the area, and in other places around the US. She explained that people should not profit off of something that could potentially be harmful to everyone. I really thought that Chief Anne was interesting and I think that having oral histories like hers are so important because not many people know them and that that history will slowly disappear if we don’t conserve it.

John Tippett was the executive director of the Friends of the Rappahannock from 1995-2014 and oversaw the group’s role in several landmark accomplishments, now he is an adjunct professor/instructor at UMW. When he first got to FOR, they had recently started with the development of removing Embrey Dam. During the video, he explains all of the hurdles that they had to jump through to get the funding for the removal and the number of tests they had to do on the soil. I thought that this was interesting because I didn’t know that gold mining went on in our area. With the removal of the dam, it was considered dangerous and it was often put on the back burner. They started by lobbying at the state level since the local government lacked the funds to have it removed. FOR slowly gained positive moral support from locals. They have hosted various events as well to show locals what they are capable of doing and that the dam was no longer necessary. The dam was successful removed between 2004 and 2005.

20th/21st Century Immigration and DMV: Blog Post #6

Young Ethopian Immigrants

This article focuses on the assimilation of one half and second generation, non-White immigrants and the creation/reconstruction of racial and ethnic identities. Ethiopian immigrants made up the largest group of African immigrants in the DC area during the 1990s, making up 25% of the population and 22% of the overall US population. To find out how this assimilation process works, author Elizabeth Chacko interviewed 20 different people between 2002 and 2003 of 1.5 and 2nd generation immigrants living in the DC area. These interviews started off small and, as a result, the “snowball” technique came into play. Interviewees ranged in age from 18 to 27 years old. Chacko writes that assimilation is successful when immigrants have the ability to identify with and feel at home in the host society, gradually being steered into “the American way of life” (493). These forms of assimilation are usually multifaceted. Chacko writes that some immigrant groups maintain their ethnic cultures and identities, while some follow a path of upward mobility and assimilation into the White middle-class. For non-Native Blacks in the US, there is a resistance to not identify with American Blacks due to prejudice. Many second generation immigrants struggle with identifying as “Black” or as “African American” because they are both but yet are made to pick. Because of this, there are inconsistent identifiers, but parents try to be active agents in reinforcing the traditional cultures. With this second generation of immigrants, culture and pride are more internalized and they are continually engaged in the process of identity creation and recreation to reflect currently lived realities.

Honduran Women in Alexandria

In this article, Allison J. Petrozziello focuses on how migrant women from Honduras send their earnings back home and that some see this as the solution, or silver bullet, to poverty and women’s empowerment. Many migrants fleed to the US due to economic havoc after hurricanes and with the introduction of economic structural adjustment policies. Worldwide, remittances have totaled around US$440.1 billion in 2010, with US$325.5 billion being sent to developing countries. Petrozziello writes that there is a feminization of migration and that migrant women have become autonomous workers who provide for their families and end up sending a higher percentage of their income home than men – women send around 19% home and men send around 14% home. She writes that there must be a gendered analysis of migration in order to understand the potential effect, change, and development that these remittances could have on Honduras. In order to see if this were true, three months of field research was done among 20 transnational families in the US and in Honduras. The 1980s saw Hondurans migrating to the US in large numbers – one million in 2010, 600,000 of which were believed to be undocumented. Of these migrants, men felt more pressure to work and provide for their families. Many women migrants came due to gender inequalities in the labor market and have experienced domestic violence, divorce, and/or abandonment by a spouse. The functioning of these transnational families relies on the reproductive labor of women in Honduras who are taking care of those that the migrant women left behind. It is believed that the reason women send more money back home is that they feel a stigma/guilt from not being there with their children. But the earning capacity is hindered by employees recruitment process, depending on males for sponsorship, which channels the women into particular jobs and roles.

Asian Indians in Washington, DC

This article discusses first generation Asian immigrants. Elizabeth Chacko writes that these immigrants are at least partially assimilated through being highly educated, English speaking, have an economic success that surpasses that of white, native US citizens, and have a strong sense of ethnic identity. Chacko writes how this FG group seeks to negotiate their identities and membership in the US and find their public and private places. These identities become hybrid, meaning that they are fluid and are constantly in the process of becoming, but are never predetermined or preconceived. Chacko explains that ethnicity is complex with multiple aspects of identity. Within these spaces, there are authentic senses of identity in private spaces. Chacko does this through interviews with 30 different immigrants from 2010-2011 who have been in the US for 17-26 years and in between the ages of 39-54. These candidates were found through personal and professional connections/networks. She goes on to discuss that there are different identities for these immigrants between the public and private spaces. These spaces can also determine ones’ American-ness or their Indian-ness. Public spaces tend to be more open and accessible to more people, but these immigrants tend to gravitate towards others who were brought up like them. Assimilation, compared to the two other articles, is done via socioeconomic integration into the middle-class society. Life, though, has changed for Asian Indian immigrants after the events of 9/11. Since then, this group has continuously had to underscore the American aspects of their identity. Chacko concludes by explaining how Asian immigrants have to develop hybrid identities that allow them to selectively embrace aspects of Indian and American cultures (126).

20th/21st Century Immigration & VA: Blog Post #5

Latinization of the Central Shenandoah Valley

In this article, the author, Laura Zarrugh, discusses how there has been major growth in the Harrisonburg area of the Shenandoah Valley. This area has the most diverse public school enrollment in the state. Between 1990 and 2000, there was a 104% growth in the Latino community. Zarrugh explains that this area was originally where many German Mennonites and Brethren would come when there was little land to be found in Pennsylvania. She even called them the economic backbone. Within the last century, this area has also seen a decrease in its African American population. Both the Mennonite Church and Church of the Brethren have had long histories of helping with and being involved in refugee and immigrant assistance within the US and has continued to do so. This area is known for this agricultural industry in both poultry and apples and has recruited from Latin countries. Its recruitment has mainly been of Mexican immigrants. Zarrugh explains how these migrants would often participate in migrant circuits, “picking their way up the East Coast” (27). Many of the same people would come back year after year. Many would eventually leave the agricultural side and would go to work in the poultry plants. Instead of going back to Mexico from November to February once getting these jobs, these migrants would stay in the area where they had year-round jobs. Zarrugh also talked about the experiences of different immigrants and how one would need to be “invited” to come to work by someone they knew. Being invited meant that you would have a place to sleep/stay and something to eat until you were able to save enough to find somewhere on your own. This area was also big for refugee resettlement because of church sponsors, low-skill jobs, and the lower cost of living. Churches played a large role in sponsoring families and individuals until they were able to live on their own as well.

Perfectly American: Immigration & Richmond

In this article by David W. Haines and Karen E. Rosenblum, they discuss how refugee resettlement was once done through voluntary-managed programs and is now more formal and regulated. The American response to the refuge and the refugees are mixed, but Haines and Rosenblum focus more on the experience of Richmond refugees. They go on to talk about how Richmond has normalized refuges and that there are newspaper articles about the experiences of these refugees. This has become helpful because it has shown more about how the refugee experience is constructed by those who host them as they resettle in the US. These elements become dynamic of individual experiences. Specifically, they focus on Richmond between 1975 and 1999. They list a few individual stories that follow the same guidelines that other published stories do – their reason to leave, “justified flight,” additional losses they faced along the way, and their eventual resettlement. Unlike other local news, coverage of refugees is always considered timely and localized. What I thought was really interesting was that refugees were considered and described as “exemplifying the classic American virtues” (396). Many of the refugees are sponsored by local churches or synagogues, who later encouraged their sponsored refugees to practice their specific religion. These articles would then put the refugee’s individual experiences of real-world events into a more personal sphere. The next part of the article focused on the refugee category compared to racial divisions and that though newspaper coverage of them can be positive there is also a negative side, being used as a foil against other minorities. But having more refugees is “important as the vanguard in expanding the parameters of diversity” (400). They concluded the article talking about how the stories of these refugees would look very different in larger cities.

Immigrant Newcomers in Williamsburg, VA

In this article by Deenesh Sohoni and Jennifer Bickham Mendez, they discuss how reports, columnists, and readers of the Virginia Gazette draw on national and international public interpretations of immigration issues. They write that tensions over these issues tend to appear in new immigrant destinations as issues become more public which gives form to more fear and anxiety. They stress that smaller communities are becoming important sites for understanding public interpretation and responses to immigration issues. To get a better understanding specifically of what is happening in Williamsburg, Sohoni and Mendez analyzed 500 texts from the Virginia Gazette and noted two different patterns – how national frames are used on local issues and how localized symbolic boundaries are created. Their analysis specifically focused on the Last Word section from 2006 and 2007. They split up 522 texts into six categories, classified by type, the writers attitude regarding immigration, and whether or not it was inclusive or exclusive. They also noticed that the more people wrote into the Last Word, the more articles were published in the main sections of the paper. They also discussed the difference between the “good” and the “bad” immigrants that people are writing about. The “good” immigrants are usually foreign exchange students with a strong work ethic who contribute to the community and come from well off Eastern European or Asian families/countries. The “bad” immigrants are from more specific places, like Mexico, and are illegal immigrants are that “guest workers” who are expected to work and then leave, but usually settle and stay in the area (511). What I found to be the most interesting when the listed issues of how fast Williamsburg has grown and developed. Because of the increase in people, housing isn’t as available, it’s more costly, there’s a loss of “small town life,” and there are new schools and redistricting. I found this whole article to be very interesting.

“Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball”: Blog Post #4

At the beginning of this reading, we learn about Joe Bageant, who was a freelance writer from Winchester, Virginia. As a writer, he submitted his work to websites and published two books before he died and also served in the US Navy. Through submitting his work to websites, he said that it gave him his voice, but that it also gave him his readership. This reminded me a lot of the book Angry White Men and how men are turning to posting on websites to vent about different topics rather than speaking up about them. His writing focused on the class system in the US, with tens of millions of whites ignored by coastal liberals in New York, Washington, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These writings also included things that people did not seem to see. Ken Smith, who writes the introduction, includes that he invited Joe to France to meet him and ended up making a website for him, which he neither liked or viewed. Smith stressed that when Joe died, it seemed like no one cared – including his community, which did not even write about his books being published when they were.

In the first chapter, we are met by Joe Bageant’s writing, which was written in 2004. He talks about his love/hate relationship with Winchester, VA, saying that it created a “moralizing, preachy, and essentially lazy bastard who likes to drink” (10). He then emphasizes that it has been a while since liberals have left safe in his town, feeling as if they need to talk in hushed tones when discussing politics as there are many people in the town who are either very far left or very far right. I thought that it was funny when he listed the three things that made someone a liberal. I think that a lot of people might think this or make that assumption of those three things. He then writes about Virginia being an anti-union state, and that people are only earning three quarts of the national average and have a love of personal firearms. At the end of the chapter, he stresses the need for “goddam Yankee liberals, gays, and other malignant types” (16) to get out and vote.

Chapter six focused on how “it ain’t easy being white,” and how Winchester, VA has a population of about 29,000 people with about 4,000 of those people are from Mexico, living in VA illegally. He writes that nearly every one of them is illegal, but nothing is done about it since they are providing cheap labor for the town’s elite plants and businesses. With this, he includes that this labor, though useful, has had crushing effects on the working class, white, wages. He then goes on to talk about how major, or world-changing events, have had little to no effect on the area, saying that 9/11 was just another televised event that hasn’t changed the country. He goes on to say that working-class Americans are isolated and insolated. This meaning that it tends to be based on location and now has become based on “ignorance, body fat, cheap spectacle, and electronics” (59). He includes that this class needs to become more educated as they never talk about current events and are nonpolitical. He also acknowledges that this group believes in white privilege, but gets little of the benefits of being white. He concludes this chapter by stressed that modern liberals are not as involved with class issues as they ought to be.

Chapter twenty focuses on the marketing of presidencies and how the Obama administration was marketed. He wrote that “successful politicians are…successfully marketed brands” (224). In this short chapter, he writes about wanting to get back to the true American identity, meaning buying more things and racking up more debt. At the ends, he writes that he will be getting a $250 check from the government only to have to pay it back the following spring.

In the final chapter of our reading, Bageant discusses how the American experience is becoming more narrow and provincial with little to no comprehension of the outside world. Americans are too busy being consumers, like discussing environmental disasters as only affecting the seafood and tourism/fishing industries. Because of this, Americans have not started to doubt the American dream, still thinking that each generation will have it better than the last. He writes that as Americans, we assume that there are no limits to natural resources and that we can do everything and anything. I think it was very interesting when he mentioned that the solution of a Republican candidate looks “more attractive by the day” (254). Another quote that I found to be interesting was, “Liberty…abounds in a totalitarian democracy…The slaves are free to elect their master, and that is enough to satisfy most folks in the land of the free” (256). I thought that this related very closely to last weeks reading/discussion.

Social Memory & Slavery Readings: Blog Post #3

“A Tale of Two Civil War Statues”

In this section of the reading, Jonathan I. Leib, a professor at Old Dominion University writes about investigating different strategies for teaching about race, power, and iconography in the American South. He teaches his students how to apply concepts and theories to investigate their local communities while seeing how landscapes are racialized. He provides his class with a fairly local example to ODU – Elmwood Cemetery and West Point Cemetery. He tells his students that both race and Jim Crow were instrumental in the founding of both cemeteries. Elmwood is predominantly white and features a white Confederate soldier statue that was erected in 2007. West Point is historically black and features a black Union soldier state that was erected in 1920. He gives his students a virtual tour of both cemeteries, with images from Google and his own, and encourages his students to go there in their own time. These statues are about 900 feet apart and are separated by a ten-foot brick wall. Leib writes that “the Confederate soldier stands guard over what was the city’s whites’ only Elmwood cemetery, while the black Union soldier stands guard over what was the city’s African American West Point Cemetery” (402).

West Point Cemetery was created because there was originally no public space for the African American community to bury and mourn the dead. It became the first African American cemetery in the 1870s, but the swampy ground did not make it suitable for burials and the city failed to provide the money necessary for improvements. It was christened in 1885 and a portion of it went specifically to black Union veterans, an estimated 100 veterans are buried there. The statue was erected in 1920 of Union soldier William Carney who was born into slavery in Norfolk in 1840. He would later escape north into Massachusetts and fight for the Union. Unfortunately, the statue was quickly forgotten about, but was later listed on a brochure of historic sites in Norfolk and was listed incorrectly.

Elmwood Cemetery boarders West Point Cemetery. The statue that is found just inside the gates was erected in 2007. Its granite base was placed there in 1912 with the intention of soon featuring a Confederate soldier, but the United Daughters of the Confederacy quickly ran out of money. In 2006, the UDC gained approval from the city and raised $5,000 to have a statue carved and placed on top of the base. The model for the statue was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. There appeared to be little opposition to this, but there were some who did oppose it.

Following the addition of the Confederate soldier to Elmwood Cemetery, local historian and activists, Curtis Alexander added an unfurled flag of the Composite National Standard Regimental Colors. Later, Elmwood Cemetery would respond by placing Confederate war flags on the graves of eleven white Confederate soldiers and fire artillery salutes to honor those dead.

He concludes that these two statues and two cemeteries serve as a metaphor for public memory and race overtime in the South. He stresses, as well, that we should read landscapes to better understand and be aware of what is and has not occurred in the local area.

“Slavery In American History”

In this section of the reading, author James Oliver Horton discusses how race is talked about in schools. He writes that most Americans believe that racial discrimination and isolation no longer affect achievement. The issue, Horton believes, is that there is little remembrance of history, specifically slavery, that is talked about and taught in public schools. What is taught enforces the romanticization of slavery and of America being the land of the free. Horton discusses how interpreters are asked to educate a misinformed public, who think slavery was only in the South, and are often reluctant to deal with history that can be personal. He also stresses that slavery was a significant economic and social institution that was a major contradiction to the nation’s purpose. Horton later discusses how slavery is not taught properly in schools and that it is rarely in textbooks. The issue here is that textbooks in college and public schools have not changed despite all of the recent scholarship. Part of this is what does not reach high school students has not reached their teachers. Once students get to college, the knowledge of American history is frequently limited and ideas about slavery are often stereotypical or nonexistent. Within President Clinton’s administration, there was an increase in federal education funding. Another idea was to have History High School which focuses on applying history into all the curriculum. The history of slavery is making its way into public schools via public and private programs that educate public schools teachers. He concludes the chapter by talking about the slave auction that was put on by Colonial Williamsburg. I found this section to be really interesting and that it gave a lot more information that I had previously known about the event. The very last section of this part of the reading talks about the planning for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

“Southern Comfort Levels”

In this chapter by Marie Tyler-McGraw, she discusses how race, heritage tourism, and the Civil War all affect Richmond, Virginia. All of this was put together in the idea of a new building project to revamp the riverfront area. This project would enlarge and reinterpret the Civil War exhibition that was present. On the Canal Walk, there was a large mural with thirteen panels, one of which had Robert E. Lee on it. This caused quite the issue and was later removed and replaced with a panel that featured General Lee in civilian clothes alongside President Lincoln and a black Union soldier. Richmond was once the central site of the production and maintenance of the Confederate version of the causes of the Civil War, which delayed the city’s desired transformation into the New New South’s banking, business, and governmental center. Some of the goals of the city’s white leadership were to memorialize the Confederacy, make Richmond part of the New South industrial economy, effectively separate the black and white populations, and plan public spaces. One way to get all of these goals together was to create a commemorate space for the Confederacy, aka Monument Avenue. Meanwhile, African American citizens had different ways of preserving the Richmond landscape – protests, parades, oral traditions, and counter-interpreting historical sites. Some thought that heritage tourism would help to show the parallel stories of Richmond in an effort to link both sides, seeing that African American tourism was a strong economic force. Later, the city would open new museums, rename old ones, and introduce new history, which included a statue of Arthur Ashe on Monument Avenue. Many did not argue who it was, but where it was being placed, saying that it was specifically for Confederate heroes. Tyler-McGraw later examples how Richmond has residental areas that are still segregated and that Richmond is one of the most dramatic examples to show where mutliculturalism is very black and white.

“Civil Wargasm”: Blog Post #3

In this weeks reading, the author recalls the road trip that he took with his friend, Rob, to visit all the Civil Way battlefields and other significant locations. While visiting these sites, they would read from solider’s diaries and memoirs, even taking scops of “sacred dirt” (210). On the drive, they would stop at the different highway road signs, reading up on what happened in that area. At the end of each day, Rob would document everything that the two did, including all the locations and times that they were there. When they got to each of the different sites, Rob would answer people’s questions and would interact with the kids there. This whole time they were dressed as a Confederate and Union soldier. I thought what was most interesting was that they would spend the nights in open fields, trenches, or random shacks that were in the middle of the woods. I was surprised that they did this but was not surprised when the author commented that he felt weird sleeping where thousands of men had died. Rob also brought along and compared photographs of the areas and expressed wanting to recreate one of the only photos from the Civil War that showed the soldiers on the move. I thought it was interesting that the author discussed how photos from the Civil War would set the standard for photos to be more censored until the 1960s. I also had not realized before this reading that most of the major clashes were fought for control of rail junctions, crossroads, and/or river and seaports (240).

Once the pair got just south of Richmond, there were more rebel graces, monuments, and remains to visit, including Hollywood Cemetery – located right in Richmond. I enjoyed the section about this cemetery because I have visited this place a few times before this reading, so it was nice being able to connect with the text. While they were in Richmond, they attended a meeting about the addition of an Arthur Ash statue on Monument Avenue. What I found interesting about this meeting was people calling themselves “Confederate Americans” and that it applies to anyone who is against big government and wasn’t to be left alone. Someone commented that they wanted to be left alone to keep enslaving people, but another responded saying that “it’s not about slavery…it’s about states rights” (253). It blows my mind that people thought this and still think this today. They then travel to Petersburg where it seems very empty and stop by a random store and visit with a man named Jimmy Olgers. He explains that his family has always owned the store and that since the construction of major stores, it has become a location that is filled with random “historical” things, almost like a general store (260-261). Olgers then takes the pair around his property and explains what he knows of his families history of the war, but doesn’t want to believe that the war is over.

The reading then continued with them traveling to Lexington and Washington & Lee University. I thought that it was really comical how both Jackson’s and Lee’s war horses are so sacred and protected, with Jackson’s being on display at the museum at VMI. I just found it interesting how much people care about the horses and the generals, but that we don’t know much about the thousands of men that fought, along with the free and enslaved African American’s who fought on the Confederate side.

The last part of the chapter talked about the two men meeting up again for a reenactment at Gettysburg of Pickett’s Charge and how there are many myths about it. The men and a few others did the same march with the same timing. As they were marching, about a hundred tourist joined them and asked them what they were doing. After they were done, Rob started to answer questions and give people more insight into the battle.

I really liked this reading and, as I said, at times found it comical. I also found it to be very interesting since there was a lot in it that I didn’t know that much about.

“Southern Stalemate”: Blog Post #2

The introduction of this reading laid out the history of Prince Edward County and how the district withdrew from all things public school. Strikes started in 1951 with the protesting of unequal school facilities. As the county withdrew from open public schools, nearly 2,700 African American studies were locked out from their local school. It would take until the 1970s for schools to be meaningfully integrated. What I found most interesting about this section was that white citizens also suffered from the schools closing, not as bad as it was for those in the African American community, but suffered from being unwilling or unable to send their children to white private schools.

The first chapter was on white supremacy and black resistance in Prince Edward County. The school board denied requests for more African American teachers. In turn, the African American community started to raise money to build a new school and pay teachers. In the fall of 1935, there were 469 students in a school that could hold 325 (pg. 22). This chapter then discussed how “segregation in Virginia often took the forms of quiet cruelties” (pg. 26) with a limited number of beds available in hospitals for African Americans. The author then introduces Barbara Johns who helped to start the planning for the Moton High School strike. Attorney’s petitions demanded an end to school segregation in that county and then there were discussions of equalization vs desegregation. A court case was the result of everything going on at MHS and judges did admit that Moton was lacking a lot of what the white schools had. At this point, the Supreme Court was not in a rush to take on the case.

The second chapter focused on how Southern states were fiercer in their resistance to the desegregation of schools. The Virginia Governor at the time asked those in positions of power to keep accepting segregation within the county. This was then backed up as the PEC Board of Supervisors said that it would be impossible to operate a non-segregated school system in Virginia (pg. 52). Fifty-four weeks after the Brown decision, the Supreme Court revealed how desegregation would be carried out. By 1957, three of the five school districts involved in Brown had begun desegregation, except for Prince Edward and Claredon County. After the Brown II decision, PEC citizens went to the Board of Supervisors to ask that no funds be appropriated for public schools if they were required to integrate. Later, Arlington became the first to announce an integration plan. There was a larger push for segregation coming from politicians and the Defenders of State Sovereignty as the groups became more enlightened about maintaining white supremacy.

The next chapter focused on how massive resistance across the county started to collapse. The author also examined how North Carolina approached desegregations and that they relied on school localities rather than by the state. The author noted that they would have a better chance of being held up in court by doing this. For the 1958-1959 school year, the court ordered school integration. By September of 1958, the US district court ordered that the Warren County School Board to admit 22 black students (pg. 83). But by June of 1959, schools were still segregated.

The last chapter focused on how the public schools opened back up and the protests of the Summer of 1963. That summer there were protests throughout the county and the Free Schools and African American community confirmed that they were outsiders who were concerned with the education crisis in the county. Many around the states also feared that the school closings would affect the states ability to lure in new industry. In 1962, Supreme Court justices reversed the state appeals court decision and concluded that PEC schools could not remain closed while other schools continued to operate. Two years later, the Supreme Court recognized that closures affected more blacks than whites. In October of 1964, schools were open but were still lacking a lot of educational/school necessities. The next step was getting African American community members on the Board of Supervisors and by 1969 there were two on the board.

I really enjoyed this reading and thought that it was very interesting. I knew about Price Edward Country from reading Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County, but I didn’t know about a lot of the things that the author covered. I enjoyed the reading because it was definitely beneficial to have the information as I go into teaching.