Charlottesville 2017 Blog post by Suzanne Ferraro 

The reading of Charlottesville 2017 talked about High School ninth grader Zyhana Bryant petitioned her city council to remove the monumental statue of Robert E. Lee from one of the public parks. In 2016, Zyahna Bryant, a 16-year-old high-school student, was given an assignment asking her to describe something she could change. She started a petition to remove the statue of Lee. I thought it was thought-provoking that Wes Bellamy, the only African American on the city council, supported Bryant’s petition because of the association of white supremacy with the building of the statues. I learned from the reading that the City Council argued that Lee and Jackson’s statues are not war memorials but symbols of white supremacy in part because both monuments were erected in the 1920s, during the South’s Jim Crow era. In the reading of Charlottesville 2017, one side wanted to remove both of the statues because Lee led Confederate forces during the American Civil War, which the Confederacy fought between 1861 and 1865 in an attempt to maintain slavery. I thought it was thought-provoking that in the reading, Jackson rose to fame in the first years of the conflict before dying of pneumonia after being mistakenly shot by his men. Although the statue of Jackson statue was erected in 1921 and Lee in 1924, nearly 60 years after the War ended in the total defeat of the Confederacy, it was followed by an era of official racial segregation across southern states. Interestingly, both statues were taken down following the death of Heather Heyer, whom a white supremacist killed by running her down with his car on the street. I thought it was shocking that white supremacists came to protest the city council’s decision to remove both Confederate Robert E. Lee statues from the Emancipation Park, which was renamed and formerly Lee Park.

I thought in the second part of the reading History, Mine and Ours Charlottesville’s Blue Ribbon Commission and the Terror Attacks of August 2017 by John Edwin Mason was interesting that the City Council agreed with a recommendation made by the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces. Both of these statues memorialize more than a story. They reflected on the end of slavery, when white Charlottesville, like whites throughout the South, had successfully reinvented white supremacy in the form of Jim Crow segregation. I thought it was important that the reading mentioned black Charlottesville residents had no voice in the erection of the statues and were excluded from civic life in many other ways.

The reading mentioned the contrasting arguments that some people argued these statues were mere of military generals. However, the decision to remove them had meaning because the commission examined how and why the statues were erected. I thought it was interesting that they mentioned it wanted us to suggest ways that the city could use public spaces to address the historical practices that divided people into races. In the reading, I observed the decision to remove the statues and move beyond practices that had divided people, especially about race. Page 24 mentioned they wanted to honor the black community and its history. On page 25, at the beginning of the reading, referenced the Slave Auction Block, which is a symbol of the suffering of enslaved people of Charlottesville and Albemarle between 1820 and the 1860s. I thought it was interesting how it talks a lot about the statute’s misrepresentation of history and glorifies people who perpetuated slavery, attempted secession from the United States, and lost the Civil War.

The third part of the reading focused on white supremacists and the association of the rally, especially with antisemitism and the ideas of Hiter and the Nazis. It was interesting the fact that August 11 and 12 was the third major hate event in Charlottesville and at UVA in four months.

On page 153 of the reading, I thought it was important to note the association of the term “octoroon” with a UVA colleague, W.A. Plecker. The Virginia Assembly passed the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, and Plecker had to send instructions to officials on accurately reporting racial composition. This ties the University officials to a dark racial past.

In the last part of the reading, Race, Place, And the Social Responsibilities of UVA In the aftermath of August 11 and August 12. In the reading, I thought it was important to understand local politics with the recriminations about the management of the rally, including the counterprotest, the events, and the ongoing conversations about race, poverty, and inequality of students and people who attend UVA. I learned from the fact that UVA should acknowledge the memorialization of slavery during the Civil War and a history of white supremacy and segregation among people at UVA and in their communities. I agree with the focus on the impact on students and the community to bring about change and improve the community.

Blog Posts by Suzanne Ferraro

In the readings “The Latinization of the Central Shenandoah Valley,” “Identity and Assimilation among Young Ethiopian Immigrants,” and “Defining Immigrant Newcomers,” I thought it was interesting Virginia is among many southern states that have experienced a sudden growth in immigration during the past decade. I was surprised to read about the growth volume, especially in rural areas. It makes sense that some of rural Virginia, dependent on labor, looks to immigrant populations to fill jobs.

I thought it was thought-provoking how the term “Latinization” implies not only demographic change but other changes, such as housing, education, and new cultural interests. Also, I found it interesting how, on page 21, there is a “push” and a “pull to immigration policy. I agree that all Latin or Spanish-speaking individuals should not be lumped into the same view of how they are “pushed” out of their native land due to political or economic instability. The “pull” to Virginia has been through individuals and sometimes churches helping immigrants settle.

Interestingly, social networks determine why immigrants choose specific destinations. In other words, people go to places with prior social ties to relatives, friends, or acquaintances and live and work for support. It was fascinating how they mentioned the result of active recruitment by local industries, such as the poultry industry or the local apple industry, in the past. I noted that even when educated, people had to start over into low-paying jobs like the poultry or turkey industry. Throughout the readings, I thought it was important to realize that the growth of cities like Harrisonburg and Williamsburg is due to a supply of low-paying jobs that rely on immigrants.

In the reading “Defining Immigrant Newcomers in New Destinations: Symbolic Boundaries in Williamsburg, Virginia,” I was fascinated that the article examines immigration in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, through coverage in Williamsburg’s local newspaper. I learned how news coverage impacts immigration issues in local areas. I thought it was important in the introduction on page 498 that immigrants from Latin America and especially temporary foreign workers from Eastern Europe and Asia are drawn to the area by the growing numbers of entry-level jobs in different positions, including tourist, retail, and hospitality industries.

For example, I thought it was thought-provoking on page 506 of the reading where it mentioned that the media portrays different immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans. They depicted immigrants as a threat. I agree that local news reports on the issue of immigration status and topics like crime, the economy, culture, and government responsibility are important. If most media coverage is exclusionary, then it is not surprising that local opinions would be more anti-immigration.

In the reading, “Identity And Assimilation Among Young Ethiopian Immigrants In Metropolitan Washington,” I learned that Ethiopians are a key new immigrant group that faces issues of the assimilation of recent generations and cultural identity in the United States. The study examined the ethnic and racial identities of first- and second-generation immigrant children. It was compelling how it mentioned that Ethiopian immigrants living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area do not associate their background with African Americans.

I thought it was interesting that the results of these twenty in-depth interviews proved that race is a much more fluid form of identity than ethnicity to young immigrants. I agree with the idea that immigrants are examples of groups that maintain their ethnic cultures and identities. I thought it was worthy of note that the reading talked about the children of poor minorities of color being at greater risk of downward socioeconomic status. I agree you can’t associate the color of someone’s skin with their cultural identity.

Deepak Singh’s How May I Help You? Blog Post by Suzanne Ferraro

In the reading How May I Help You? Deepak Singh describes his journey from India to Charlottesville, Virginia, as a new immigrant who is overqualified for his sales position. Yet, he faces issues common to the working poor, immigrants, and diversity in the United States. In the book Deepak Singh’s How May I Help You? It talks a lot about race and people, especially how we tend to treat people differently or even consider them invisible in some industries.

After all, he was an immigrant and spoke English fluently, but because of his accent, people assumed he didn’t understand what was going on. He was an immigrant from India with only an accent but was well-educated. I thought it was interesting how the book, in the beginning, mentions a lot about the struggles at his job and how he had to ask for help, and they were especially mean towards him. It is common in any new job where you have limited training but mainly learn on the job. The important part of the book was how Deepak was treated versus people who had grown up in the United States. Sometimes, people assume you are automatically a foreigner if you have an accent and receive different treatment. This is demonstrated in Chapter 6 when Deepak is hired, but Cindy, Ron, and Jackie ignored him.

In chapter two of the book, it mentions that his father came from a low-income family, but he had worked hard to get a college degree. The author mentioned that his mother never went to college or school, and his father was a small-time farmer. Interestingly, the author even mentioned that his mother’s family was rich in chapter 2 of the book.

In Chapter 3 of the book Deepak Singh’s How May I Help You? It was interesting how Deepak described with such optimism that he was moving to the United States and how he would board a plane and leave India. He talked about how he would find a job and where he would work, especially where he would live. He had a lot of optimism that seemed to fade as he started his job.

I noted that in chapter 4, I thought it was important that he doubted his decision to marry an American woman and quit his job in India. He thought it was a big mistake since it mentioned that he had emptied his bank account to pay for the plane tickets. He was moving to a big city and looking for a job that could pay well. I noted that, especially throughout the book, I learned that it was hard for his wife to pull away from her friends, and she has graduated and finished her college degree.

Chapters 5 and Chapter 6 describe his interview and his being hired at the electronics store. I thought it was sad in chapter 7 when the Indian shoppers told Deepak that he could do better than this job, and Deepak was worried that his parents would find out. In Chapter 8, it was surprising to learn that he felt that his two college degrees in India did not prepare him for working in sales in America. Also, Cindys’ management style of threatening Deepak and the other employees during the surprise inspection and that Deepak would have to improve his sales numbers or else he wouldn’t have a job. I especially thought it was fascinating how, in chapter 15, his workers would mispronounce his name, and it bothered him because they were making fun of him, and his workers would make fun of him, especially when they would call him the wrong name.

I thought it was interesting in Chapter 9, Deepak talked about when Ron told him he needed to speak English, which was demeaning. Deepak thought Ron was trying to feel good about himself by being mean to Deepak. In Chapter 10, I learned that the book mentioned a slow Tuesday evening back at the store. Jackie had not requested to work the evening shift. Ron was training to be a store manager, and Cindy had to work the evening shift along with Deepak. Deepak reveals later in chapter 20 that he learned a lot about sales from the different techniques of Cindy, Ron, and Jackie. Each of them was good at different sales techniques, and Deepak slowly improved his sales by watching and learning.  

In the book, I found it interesting how Deepak was insecure with some of his sales and didn’t want Cindy or anyone else to hear him convince a consumer to buy something he wasn’t sure of. Deepak did help point out Tom’s wrongful sales techniques, which would do anything, even unethical sales techniques, for his sales commissions. Luckily, Cindy fired Tom.

My favorite part of the book was at the end of the book when Deepak returned to India and had chai tea with an old friend. Deepak bought a shirt at Old Navy on clearance, yet he left the impression with his friend and his parents that he was far richer and more successful than he actually was. I felt for Deepak as he arrived at the store, hoping he would see Ron and Jackie, only to find that they both quit. Earlier in the book, he noted that it would be difficult for either to earn more money given they did not have a college degree, but both had seemed to move on. In the end, Cindy told Deepak she was impressed with his work and wanted him to be a manager.

I thought it was interesting how the book showed a lot of contrasting situations where giving off an impression did not always match the truth. Deepak and his wife Holly had to carefully explain their marriage since it would not generally be accepted in either of their cultures. Deepak was careful what he said to his parents because of their concern about status and impressions.

I thought it was interesting how he had been paying close attention to the different selling styles and the interactions among his colleagues. They had a unique way of approaching the consumer, including how they pitch a product. The different approaches were fine as long as they were honest. Deepak had learned a lot about not only selling but about people and culture. Initially, he was rejected at his job and as a new immigrant. However, things changed, and over time, his work ethic and personality allowed him to be viewed as the most important employee. I think the lesson of the book is to look beyond the job that people are doing and recognize the person and their effort. It is hard enough being an immigrant in the US, a very expensive country, let alone dealing with insults or demeaning treatment. It is a better practice to recognize the effort and the person and be kind.  

Public in Name Only blog by Suzanne Ferraro

The book Public in Name Only talks about the lack of access to the public library in Alexandria, Virginia, for Black residents. Theoretically, the library was public, but Black residents were systematically excluded from accessing the resources that their tax money was used to fund. Court opinions were to allow greater race integration and interracial relations. Still, the practice of gaining access to what had been traditional white facilities were not allowed. The resident suffered delay after delay until the efforts of Samuel Tucker were finally successful after a peaceful sit-in and a court decision set out a process that allowed Black residents to gain access to library facilities.  

I found the reading of Public in Name Only interesting in that the author listed the historical changes that should have benefited Black Virginians. However, access was still an issue because white officials, library administrators, and city council officials attempted to stall or deny library access. Surprisingly, almost two hundred antilynching bills were introduced in Congress between 1882 and 1968. The New York Times reported that on March 29, 2022, President Joe Biden signed a bill saying that lynching would be a federal crime.

In chapter one of the book Public in Name Only, I thought it was interesting how the author talked about during the eighteenth century, some enslaved Blacks were taught to read, primarily so they would have access to the gospel. Whites saw reading as a benign skill among Black enslaved individuals. By the 1820s, however, as abolitionist movements were evolving and expanding, those views had shifted. The tables in Chapter One were helpful in showing how few Black Americans had library access. Black citizens could use the Virginia State Library only if they sat at a separate table. It seems like some libraries wanted to avoid certain kinds of funding for fear that they would have to give equal access to white and Black individuals. I thought it was surprising to see the table on page 32 that showed that while Black patrons 16 and older were admitted to the Richmond library in 1947, younger Black children did not have access until the 1960s.

Chapter two shows that the library demonstration in Alexandria was important for access to Virginia libraries and civil rights histories overall. I found it important that Black families view library access and education as important for greater social integration. Samuel Tucker passed by the Alexandria library every day on his way to work. He was constantly reminded that he did not have equal access despite his taxes contributing to the funding.

The book points out that extending the court victories in education leads to greater access to facilities. Samuel Tucker knew that public libraries were key to community growth and development. He knew that separate facilities would never be equal and only fought for equal access. I think Samuel Tucker’s idea to have a test case and a two-pronged legal case to force the library to desegregate was brilliant. It was interesting to learn that Samuel Tucker argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Chapter four shows how restrictions on voting, jobs, housing, and education were designed to control Black Virginians’ lives and access.

Further, the NAACP was important to the organization of Black individuals to overcome these restrictions. I found it interesting that the actual sit-in was planned to have more participants, but their families did not allow it out of concern. Also, one of the key facts of the sit-in was that it was designed to be peaceful so that the participants could not be charged with disorderly conduct. If they were quiet, silently reading, it would not be considered disorderly under the law, and they would be kicked out because of their race. They were charged with trespassing initially and then disorderly conduct. It was a well-designed legal strategy by Samuel Tucker because he knew a judge would not be able to rule that being so quiet and respectful would qualify as disorderly conduct.

Chapter Five shows that while librarians recognized that Black families would need library access, they did not change their policy and let the City Council decide the issue. The City Council voted to establish a separate and unequally funded Black branch.   I think the key point in the book is after the sit-in, the judge denied the petition but said that if the application was filled out correctly and Black individuals could provide evidence of residence, they could get a library card. The judge did not want to decide one way or the other but instead established a process that could be followed so that Black residents could access the library.

Samuel Tucker and George Wilson went to the library to resubmit their applications, but they were only offered a library card that could be used at the proposed, not yet built, Black library branch. The Black Library was opened less than a year after the sit-in. I thought it was surprising that the funding for the salary for the Robinson Library was 50 percent of the white librarians’ salary. Even after the sit-in, access seemed unequal because the funding and resources were unequal, with white libraries and jobs being better funded than Black library resources. By July of 1962, the Alexandria library was fully integrated, and the former Robinson library was transformed into a visitor center. Overall,  I thought it was a very educational book showing how hard Black individuals like Samuel Tucker had to work for equal rights and access.

Blog post by Suzanne Ferraro Week 6 Southern Stalemate.

The Southern Stalemate reading addresses the issue of school segregation, race relations, and using access to education as a political issue in Virginia. The reading covered a period when a school system in Virginia decided to shut down rather than to allow integration of the public school system. The reading demonstrates how the issue of access to education was a battle of segregation and how a segment of the population in Virginia would rather shut down schools than grant equal access as ordered by the Courts. The reading showed how schooling and education issues were at a stalemate when Prince Edward County closed the public schools to prevent integration. The type of school that parents sent their children to showed the divide. You had private schools funded differently where white children attended, and public funded schools designed to be integrated among black and white children, but were funded unequally.

In the Southern Stalemate reading, I thought it was interesting how the main avenue for integration and funding was through legal matters. However, even though there were victories in court, there were no victories in integration. Here, education and access to top education were used to depress people. In the article, black students constituted a little more than half of the school systems; however, integration was either extremely slow or non-existent in Virginia. Most white students enrolled in segregated Prince Edward Academy during the school’s closing years. Also, if the officials could not control integration, they attempted to control the funds needed to make integration successful. In summary, the events leading up to the NAACP lawsuit that became one of the cases decided by the Supreme Court, the Brown versus Board of Education, which outlawed official segregation in public schools, showed that education, access to education, and access to funding is a political issue, particularly in Virginia.

Blog post number 3 Chesapeake Requiem by Suzanne Ferraro

The chapters from Chesapeake Requiem show a segment of society with many contrasting themes like climate change versus erosion, old versus young, and progress versus preserving history. The reading shows how the island of Tangier came to be named and developed only to have its islanders abandon their homes and leave the island for a variety of reasons but mainly greater opportunity. The residents of the island are mainly politically conservative and deeply religious. The isolation of the island only highlights how changing times and weather changes have impacted the area and how progress has not extended to the island’s residents.

 The story shows how the residents on the low-lying islands in the Chesapeake have had problems keeping its young residents to support its essential industry of crabs and crabbing in the face of an island slowly drowning and decaying from the effects of erosion and the loss of its residents. The island once had a bright history of fine homes and businesses, but now people may want to live somewhere for more opportunities. Despite the physical changes the island of Tangier has experienced, the residents don’t associate the changes with climate change.

I thought it was interesting how the reading mentioned in part three of how hard the residents have to work each day in the season with an early start for crabbers on the water at the coolest part of the day because crabs can’t tolerate high temperatures. I thought it was interesting how they mentioned the island’s early history and how many people lived on the island because it shows the very stark change in circumstances for such a small island.

Overall, I learned a lot from this week’s reading about how foodways are a mix of culture, opportunity, and the impact the environment can have in each of these things. The islanders are dependent on having a strong and healthy source of crabs, but each season, they have to be careful of the deterioration of the island and the crabs to preserve the future.

I read the chapters as showing the impact of climate change and how it has changed the environment. Still, it mentions that the islanders don’t recognize this and view it as an issue of erosion. This demonstrates how one’s view of a topic relates to politics and whether people can agree on solutions. My favorite part is the reference to one squirrel on the island who has survived since being dropped off there. I view this as another analogy on how the residents are forced to do their best with the difficult environment.

Virginia Climate Fever by Suzanne Ferraro  Blog post-September 25-27

The article “Virginia Climate Fever” asks a very interesting question about climate change, specifically in Virginia. I agree that people approach the topic based on a political view. I initially thought that people either believed or didn’t believe in the topic, not that we are currently experiencing a more rapid change in climate and that global warming is a misnomer.

I agree that we have to make decisions together as a community in Virginia. Virginia is unique in that we have major metropolitan areas close to Washington DC and very rural areas close to West Virginia, the heart of the coal country. Virginia’s mix of very different types of people and occupations makes it a place where politicians measure controversial topics like climate change. Prior to reading this article, I never considered that we would get a different answer on climate change based on what data we examine. Also, the answer may depend on if you are measuring in an urban or rural area.

I think it is important that we talk about global warming and the changes in our climate on a local and national level. I thought one interesting part of the article was the description of weather volunteers who record measurements consistently over a long period of time. I think of climate change in terms of my memory of the past summer seeming hotter or whether we had a big snowstorm. I think there are many ways what we do impacts the environment, from whether we drive, walk, or recycle. 

I liked reading about the phrase, “Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.” I enjoyed learning about local contributions in Virginia to measuring climate change. Overall, the reading mentions that we directly impact climate and the troubling trajectory that the temperature is getting warmer, especially in the United States. Also, I thought it was significant that the article noted that the smaller the geography you look at, the more variation there is and the more uncertainty you find. I can see that this might have a large impact on the farmland in Virginia.

On the topic of climate models, I found it interesting that projections depend on the programming. Also, I did not know that heat is easier to project than precipitation because heat is regional, but precipitation is local and will depend on the topography.  

With respect to our waterway and the water quality measuring acidity and the health of Virginia’s water and deep water ecosystem, I found Chapter 5 interesting in the description of the different kinds of coral. I had never heard of bubblegum coral. I agree that we should have marine sanctuaries with no fishing or drilling. I was surprised to read that in Virginia, 46 percent of our fish species, 25 percent of birds, 46 percent of reptiles, 43 percent of amphibians, and 28 percent of our mammals, are now considered to be either threatened or endangered. The discussion on rare species migration and monitoring “ecological flow” was interesting. I never considered the impact of extending the farming growing season for various crops and whether trees are migrating north. 

Suzanne Ferraro’s First blog September 18-20: Read The Virginia Way & US. Supreme Court’s Ruling in Mountain Valley Pipeline v. The Wilderness Society et al. (2023)

In the reading, I thought that it was interesting because it talks about the various environmental and legal challenges. First, I was unaware that you can trespass on your property. Second, I was informed that there are very careful legal decisions, such as the Virginia legislature passing laws in 2004 to help take away property from individuals for the benefit of utilities and corporations. I am surprised that gas companies can enter property without permission in Virginia. The article shows that our environmental protections depend on the involvement of people like Red Terry and environmental organizations. Without them, our natural resources will be changed for corporations’ and legislators’ greed. The number of pollution violations also stood out.

Concerning the second article on corporate power, I thought it was interesting that Dominion was a government electric company held within a private natural gas corporation. However, the government compelled more than two and a half million homes and businesses to buy electricity only from Dominion, which the government guaranteed a rate of return of about 10 percent.

Lastly, I thought the Supreme Court case between Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Wilderness Society was very complex. I don’t quite see how the Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s ruling, allowing construction to proceed. Overall, I understand that the pipeline was almost complete. Still, the decision seems political because it discusses the court appeals having no authority to issue the stay orders on constructing the Mountain Valley Pipeline challenges. After all, Congress ratified the agency’s action. I was surprised that this case happened in June and July  of this year.