Charlottesville Post

This article is discussing the leading events, the day, and the after effects of what happened in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Growing up in this city and living through this moment I will forever remember not only the day itself but the resulting influence. It went through and both discussed the origin and importance of the Stonewall Jackson Monument and the Robert E. Lee Monument. Since the point of argument for people to keep the monuments is their remembrance of southern pride but the article provides an alternate understanding how these statues were imposed with the intent to threaten black people. 

For the author the events that resulted in the tragedy, the death of Heather Heyer, changed the meaning of the Lee statue forever, because not only was the historical significance important but there was new blood on the statue that would forever stain it. There were two differing opinions on the statue between those who thought the depressing and racist history meant it should be removed and others who thought the entire point of history is remembering the past to make change in the future. As previously mentioned this argument to keep these racist statues as a sign of southern pride or remembering the past ignores the clear aggressions towards minority groups. While these white supremacist protesters were able to come into Charlottesville and cause this tragedy and turmoil they were as easily gone leaving the local citizens to pick up the pieces. These new changes that were proposed for the historical monuments were to emphasize the historical aspect rather than just having a place that does not teach about the rights or wrongs from the past. While there is no way to know how to handle these situations it is interesting to tread on the fine line that is keeping the historical perspectives alive while also bringing awareness to the dark past. It is clear however when learning about the negative effects of leaving this reminder up for the community that removing the statues could improve the environment for people of color in the city. The city also used the important and well known University of Virginia to provide insight into the issue and research possible solutions. Through the history of anti semitic views and white supremacy one would never imagine that in 2017 these ideas would come to full view in this town in central Virginia. Anti semitism comes from these superstitious concerns that change overtime coming into a full modern understanding. This way of thinking can be adopted by anyone at any time and because of its accessibility it made the rally cries of those with the point of view at the concern about the decisions being made in Charlottesville span more than just the people of the city. 

VA Immigration

The Latinization of Central Shenandoah Valley 

This piece by Zarrugh had the intent to view the specific case, in Harrisonburg, and how the historic process of “Lationization” occurred and changed. The term “Lationization” not only is a hint to the growing population within this area but also the long list of changes and demands that are happening. Some of these include housing, education, cultural interests, and more. Zarrugh cites Harrisonburg as an excellent case study because between 1990 to 2000 the population of Latino/Hispanic people grew almost 400 percent. There was also the hope that this perspective would be eye opening since there has not been a lot of literature covering this topic and bringing awareness to this issue or ideas. The main intent of this article is to determine if and what links there are to the Latino/Hispanic population and the city of Harrisonburg and why it was a location for mass immigration. One of the biggest reasons that Zarrugh points to in the article is the “expanding economy and consistently low unemployment rate”. (page 25) This creates an incentive for those immigrating to come to that city since there is a higher likelihood they are going to find a job since there is such high demand. Further into the article the specific industries that drew people from Mexico, notably apple and poultry, were discussed and why they were so influential. Noting the “Migrant Education Program”, staringing in 1965 but continuing on for decades, as pulling people from Mexico to come and work in the valley when there was a need for workers. 

Identity and Assimilation among Young Ethiopian Immigrants 

This article discusses the emerging group of Ethiopian immigrants, specifically in Washington D.C., during both the 1980s and 1990s. The methodology in this article is interviews with twenty individuals discussing in depth and important ideas to discover an insider opinion. The intent of the interviews was to explore the emergence of  “racial and ethnic identities” within non-first generation Ethiopian immigrants. (page 491) Identifying the process of assimilation for immigrants is important because there are vast possibilities that usually once picked apart come down to the same framework. During the interviews it was striking for the author to see the difference in ways that the Ethiopian immigrants thought about race and its fluidity compared to the strike divide between black and white that others had. Specifically, the term “African America” is not preferred by this group and the reasoning is beyond what I would have thought it would be. Many shared negative experiences with other black peers and why this shaped their opinion on not wanting to be lumped into a racial sphere with them. (page 498) However, this perception could be changed depending on the generation of the immigrant and how long they had been in America. Ethnicity is another socially constructed term that was discussed in these interviews that is even more fluid than race. Nevertheless, many of the candidates shared their overwhelming pride in their heritage, which typically came from the immersion of culture from their families. The memories and cultural values were passed down between generations and shared for those who were unable to experience it firsthand, keeping it alive despite the distance. With many Ethiopian immigrants living in widely diverse neighborhoods, especially in Washington D.C. they felt the terms they used to describe themselves allowed them a sense of identity with their peers. 

Defining Immigrant Newcomers 

This article specifically focuses on Williamsburg and how the media portrays immigrants and the interpretation of emerging issues among community and identity. Williamsburg was chosen specifically because it would show the changes over time from a smaller town to a growing center. The methodology of this text was all of the media between 2006 to 2007 that mentioned immigration in the Virginia Gazette, newspaper for the “Greater Williamsburg area”. (page 501) When looking at the statistics there was the striking information that more than half of these texts contained anti-immigration sentiments while only seventeen percent held more positive views on immigration. Much of the discussion surrounded local issues that also had national implications. Cultural issues arose especially in language barriers when stances of immigrants needing to learn English in order to fully assimilate became a well known idea. There were also concerns about the economic implications from large groups of people moving into the Williamsburg area. The implication that immigrants were “stealing” jobs from America was mentioned heavily in the texts. When immigrant work ethic was commended it was typically in reference to foreign exchange students compared to the Hispanic immigrant laborers. (page 506) Many of the negative articles focused on the concern about crime and border enforcement as this was a driving force in the anti-immigrant argument. As a whole the article confirms through the researched material that there was an increase in public discourse on immigration during this year period. Large amounts of the evidence against immigration was either misunderstood or entirely false but spread nonetheless. Rather than recognizing the immigrant population as people, usually much like their new community members, they were portrayed as “objects of public discourse” and their influence on society publicly reprimanded. (page 513)

How May I Help You

This book is about the story of an immigrant, Deepak Singh, who was starting a new life in a small town in Virginia. Singh had an education from India but was only about to secure a job that would barely get him by on minimum-wage. Singh offers insight to everyday moments where he paid special attention to not only what was occurring to himself, an immigrant, but others around him. He is able to offer a perspective that is not always heard with a caring and kind outlook on other people’s situations as well as his own. 

Singh starts the book by giving situations of events that occurred during his first job and how one might not recognize but he was struggling to adapt to the American system. He felt rushed in everything he did, especially with money, and since he was not fully comfortable with the currency and how it worked he always felt nervous handling cash or change. Following this he went back in time a bit and discussed his life growing up and what events of his childhood formed him as the person who would eventually be. His parents pushed him extremely hard to get a good education, since this was something they lacked in their lives. This led him to get his bachelors and eventually MBA, despite the hardships and hours of dedication it took. 

How Singh gets to live in America is an interesting story that not even himself expected in his life. He met Holly, his future wife, while she was in Lucknow on a research scholarship and through much time fell in love. They were separated for some time but utilized the internet to keep in touch with one another. Eventually, Holly was able to return to Lucknow on another scholarship when Singh proposed and married her in a traditional Hindu wedding. Through this ceremony Singh was not tasked with the question of staying where he was from and all he had ever known or following his new bride back to her home in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

The next several chapters are focusing on the culture shock and transition for Singh coming to America, specifically Virginia. There are little things that Singh has never experienced, like a garbage disposal, that some might find a rather simple part of society but others have no experience and thus it is extremely interesting. Singh’s only form of connection in this new world was Holly and the experiences he was having with her were out of his expected view. Getting to go to events where Holly would be sitting with other men would make Singh insecure along with the conversation topics being about sex which he thought was wildly inappropriate in an adult setting. 

After getting somewhat settled into his new environment, Singh knew he needed to start looking for work since he had used most of his money to buy the ticket to America. Unfortunately, he could not use his visa alone and needed to apply for a work permit which would take three months and several hundred dollars. Once he had finally figured out all of the technical issues with getting employment Singh had to apply to jobs where he continued to get denied by “other more qualified candidates”. After finally finding a job to get an interview he had to wait some more time before getting to start since they were waiting on a background check that had to go through India. 

Through working at the electronic shop in the mall Singh got to experience interactions with many different people. Many of the stories he told were important to him because they each gave him a new perspective of the people he now lived near in the community. Many of his experiences proved to Singh that he was a foreigner and that people saw this. However, he was determined to work hard and prove himself. While everything in his life did not go the way he had planned or expected he got to learn life lessons and make connections everyday. An insight, such as Singh’s, from someone who is getting to experience life and the culture in America from an outsider’s perspective is eyeopener to the amount of mundane tasks that we don’t think twice about. Reading this book can help people develop more compassion when having an interact with someone, especially if they know they are new to America. By the end of the book we come to learn how Singh is doing better in his everyday life and working to become more accustomed to life in Virginia.

Public in Name Only

Public in Name Only focuses on Alexandria, Virginia, and a man named Samuel Wilbert Tucker. It tells the story of how Tucker, alongside a group of other black Americans, made movements for black rights through demands for access to public libraries. The book discusses not only why Tucker and others started this movement but also how they approached their ideas. The ending might not have been what Tucker envisioned, resulting in a “separate but equal” law, but it made way for changes over the coming decades and for black people in America to feel like they had a voice. 

Within chapter 1, it was most interesting when it discussed why access to the public library was important for black Americans. While there were still some opportunities, due to segregation, white people had better options comparatively. Reading and access to education are a large part of gaining traction for movement within the social hierarchy. Once white people started understanding this conception their fear of black people learning how to read and write developed, especially during slavery. They wanted to do whatever it took to prevent slaves from being able to communicate with one another and share ideas. This idea pushed through, even past the abolishment of slavery, and while it might not have been vocalized it was still there. 

Chapter 2 begins the discussion of how the movement for black rights transitioned following the implementation of the thirteenth amendment to the early 1900s. This change was seen in the request for not only freedom but equal opportunity. An organization known as the NAACP worked through different efforts, like striving to get black teachers equal pay in 1937. This chapter also sheds light on Tucker’s early life and how he was raised to believe the ideas and foundations he had. 

Much of chapter 3 is the history of Alexandria and how this is relevant in the discussion to give a perspective in the reading. It mentioned how there was a growing population of free black people, during the mid-1800s, and the distrust was growing from the white community within the city. The “personal agency” that freed black people, despite their large body of poor members, concerned white citizens resulting in separate entities and locations for free black communities to form. 

The end of this chapter leads into the start of Chapter 4, in which the “Era of Jim Crow” is discussed and how its effects were felt specifically in Alexandria. This allowed for legal segregation of black citizens with conditions being extremely below the comparison of their white counterparts. The reading not only makes the point to show the frustrations and disappointments of this era but also the resilience and success of black citizens. Some examples of this included developing their own communities to foster and grow opportunities for upward mobility. While unfortunately, this does not lead to the goals they had hoped for in the moment it paves paths for future developments. 

Chapter 6 discussed the history of the library and how it changed over the years, eventually becoming the entity that was known during Tucker’s attempt at desegregation and beyond. It also discussed the large volume of information that was held in the building, including a wide range of context and subjects. Not only was the history and the structure of the library important but the funding was as well. 

The 1939 sit-in at the Alexandria library was the main topic of discussion within chapter 7. While black city members were attempting to receive library cards, but were being denied, the leadership within the library made some point to mention the building of a black library, the full idea of this never seeming to be fully explained or discussed. Tucker wanted his recruits for the sit-in, as a response to the denial of black attendance within the library, to refrain from hostility and dress appropriately to convey the correct image. Following eventual arrests at the sit-in there was a trial in which the judge made the motion that under certain circumstances, which were not followed in this case, black people could not be denied a library card. An emergency meeting was enacted by the board members at the library that put into motion plans for building a library, specifically for black people to use. While it can be argued the sit-in increased the timeliness of the creation of the new library, it did not affect the equality in access to education. 

Chapter 8 was intended to be a summary of not only Tucker’s attempts at change but the movement within Alexandria for equal access for black community members or to answer the question of “what changed?”. It discussed not only the simple understanding that access to better education was important for black members of society but also how it changed the understanding of white people as well. There was no concern that black people would be there to challenge the unjust social aspects of society. Instead, black community members were not only able to show their strength and power but also their recognition that what was occurring was not right and they would no longer “allow” it to occur. This final chapter pulls all the information that was shared throughout other pages to create a broader understanding of why each individual act or event was important and how this not only changed life in the moment, for people like Tucker, but also how to altered history moving forward. 

Southern Stalemate Blog

This reading is about Prince Edward County and the racial history that is oftentimes overlooked. The start of the reading brings up the 1951 events in which public schools were opened and desegregated for the first time in five years. Public schools had been closed in the county due to the local government determining that closing was better than desegregating the schools. During the black rights movement in the twentieth century, the county of Prince Edward was resistant to the change. The closing of public schools in the county was not a rash decision made without thought of the consequences. The local leaders knew what the implications would be and found that it would help facilitate their goals. Due to the lack of educational availability, especially for black people, in the county, there was only a small portion receiving the information that could one day increase their power. The white people with authority were attempting to change the narrative to an idea that black parents were at fault for the lack of education for their children due to their intent on pushing segregation. Looking into the past of a county like Prince Edward gives historians a view of what was happening in these Southern areas and what policies that might not seem targeted were intended to do. The lack of information also plays a role in excluding some of the narrative of the events during this period. The reading also dives into the many challenges that black people, especially students, had to face in the mid-1900s. The reading mentioned the many different laws and court cases, Brown v. Board of Education being an example, that occurred which made it nearly impossible to continue a nonsegregated public school in the county. While the public schools were eventually reopened it was not the end of a battle for aspiring black students in Prince Edward. For years they faced hostility and resistance from administration and faculty who felt it was not their responsibility to rebuild the broken system. However, while troubling to view, the story of the county shows one of perseverance and persistence to make change happen. 

Virginia Climate Fever

The VA Climate Fever chapters discuss climate change, also referred to as global warming, and why it is becoming increasingly important to address. While climate change is a global phenomenon, focusing solely on Virginia allows the author to find specific evidence about events that are furthering the issue. The chapters also discuss how evidence was captured and while there are scientific records there is also personal documentation from community members about the changes in climate that have happened over the decades in Virginia. Some of these changes include increased rainfall, increasing temperature, and acidification of the ocean. Chapter two allows readers to see maps that physically show the data in a way that allows readers to better process and understand the changes. Chapters four and five also focus on the effects these changes can have on the environment. One specific area of importance is the waterways and oceanic ecosystems that can be within and off the coast of Virginia. Changes in carbon dioxide levels and increased temperatures can disrupt entire ecosystems that the entire world needs for future survival. The final chapters do offer some ideas of how climate change can be slowed down or altered from the current direction it is heading. It would require legal changes within Virginia, including legislation to protect what native landscapes the state has left while attempting to slow down or even reverse the harmful effects on wildlife that have been occurring.