Article by Justin Greenlee, entitled “‘Next up, Charlottesville!’: Silent Sam and the Confederate soldier at the University of Virginia,” (click title for link) published on the online platform Medium on 9/9/2018. The essay contributes to the current debate on Confederate monuments in public spaces and argues that the re-contextualization and/or removal of the soldier at UVA is needed and necessary.
Adobe Spark presentations entitled “On Preston Avenue: A brief history of Thomas L. Preston and the people who were enslaved on the Preston plantation” and “The Montgomery decision and Confederate monuments in the state of Virginia” (distributed via Twitter on 1/10/2019 and 1/21/2019, respectively). Historical research presented in the form of a social media thread and shared to inform the current debate regarding: a) the renaming of Preston Avenue in Charlottesville, VA; and b) a decision handed down by Judge Michael Graffeo in Jefferson County, AL related to a wooden screen that was put around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Montgomery and the constitutionality of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017.
— Support for Matthew Christensen’s Change.org petition to remove the Confederate statue from in front of the Albemarle County Courthouse in the form of letter-writing, attendance at relevant city and state governance meetings, and advocacy related to the development of local authority legislation when it comes war memorials in Virginia (on the Legislative Information System of the VA General Assembly, see HB 2377).
— Support for a Richmond City ordinance that would allow for the renaming of The Boulevard to Arthur Ashe Boulevard, including letter-writing and public comment to take place at a full City Council meeting on February 11, 2019 (ORD. 2018-228; meeting agenda here).
— Production and distribution of posters and T-shirts to aid the efforts of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project in Richmond, VA and draw attention to the need for a Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park.
— Development of an undergraduate course at the University of Virginia for 2019 Summer Session (II) entitled “Monuments, Memorials, and UVa.”
— Ongoing research and writing related to the history and legacies of slavery at The University of Virginia and making clear the continued presence of racist monuments and memorials on Grounds.
— The drafting of a “Monument Avenue Syllabus” (in the tradition of the “Charleston Syllabus,” “Charlottesville Syllabus,” “Silent Sam Syllabus,” “Lemonade Syllabus,” “Confederate Monuments Syllabus,” and Onmonumentave.com) that contains key readings on the history of the city, with a focus on racial injustice and African Americans who overcame both systemic obstacles and personal attacks.
— Online advocacy on Twitter related to the need for commemorative justice in Charlottesville and Richmond.
— Letter writing and public comment delivered to University of Virginia and elected officials related to the common soldier in front of the Albemarle Circuit Court, the proposed '“redevelopment” of Navy Hill in Richmond, the push for local authority when it comes to war memorials in the state of Virginia, Arthur Ashe Boulevard, the removal of the Lee statue on Monument Avenue, and the need to rename the Barringer Wing in the West Complex of UVA Hospital.
— Support for a conference/ community summit on the history of Shockoe Bottom in Richmond devoted to truth, conciliation, and examining 400 years of Africans and African Americans in the colony and state of Virginia. The conference will take place in fall 2019 and be organized by the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project alongside the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality.
— Ongoing research to track and archive creative responses to problematic monuments and war memorials across the South as well as local authority efforts at the city and state levels.
Image credit: View of the University, Charlottesville & Monticello, taken from Lewis Mountain by E. Sachse & Co., published by Casimir Bohn, 1856, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va (image source here)