News Release

Misconceptions about Charlottesville

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JAMES LOEWEN, jloewen at uvm.edu
Loewen’s books include Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong, Lies My Teacher Told Me and Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. Earlier this year, he spoke at a symposium in Richmond on Confederate monuments and memorials, available on C-SPAN. See his piece in the Washington Post: “Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.”

DAVID SWANSON, david@davidswanson.org, @davidcnswanson
Swanson’s books include Killing Is Not a Way of Life. He lives in Charlottesville and has written extensively about the Confederate and other memorials there.

He just wrote the piece “Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville,” which states: “The racists who have begun coming to Charlottesville to campaign for governor, garner attention, threaten violence, engage in violence, and commit murder are almost all from outside Charlottesville, and extremely unwelcome here. Charlottesville is a slightly left-of-center, Democratic Party area. Most people don’t rally for good causes or against bad ones. Most people don’t want the Lee statue taken down. (Or at least they didn’t until it became a gathering point for neo-Confederates.) Most people want other memorials added to public space to diversify. And most people don’t want white supremacists coming to town with their hatred and their violence. …

“Charlottesville’s mayor voted against taking down the Lee statue, even if he now sounds on NBC News as if it had been his idea. …

“Tearing down statues is not opposing history. Charlottesville has three Confederate war statues, two (pro) genocide of the Native Americans statues, one World War I statue, one Vietnam War memorial, one statue of Thomas Jefferson (whose words and deeds, I’m sorry to say, agreed almost entirely with the latest racists), and one statue of Homer (poet of war). And that’s it. We have no memorials, whether monumental statuary or otherwise, to a single educator, artist, musician, athlete, author, or activist, nothing for Native American history, slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, or ANYTHING ELSE. Almost all of our history is missing. Putting up a giant statue for racism and war is not a step for history. Taking it down is not a blow to history. It could be a step forward, in fact. Even the renaming of Lee Park as Emancipation Park is educational. Creating a memorial to emancipation, and one to civil rights, and one to school integration, and one to peace would be more so.”