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  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Jamelle Bouie: What Links the Neo-Confederate Virginia Flaggers, Barack Obama & Race

    Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect and a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute. In addition to The American Prospect, his reporting and analysis has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, CNN.com, and The Washington Post. He covers campaigns and elections, as well as policy and public opinion. He is based in Washington, D.C. You can follow Jamelle on Twitter at @jbouie, at The American Prospect, or at his website.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Va. NAACP head criticizes group’s plan to fly Confederate flag along I-95 outside Richmond

    RICHMOND, Va. — A heritage group’s plan to fly a large Confederate flag along Interstate 95 outside Richmond is drawing criticism from the head of the NAACP’s Virginia chapter.The Virginia Flaggers plans to fly the 10-by-15-foot flag on a 50-foot pole just south of Richmond. It’s tentatively scheduled to go up Sept. 28 and will be visible from the northbound lanes of the interstate, although organizers haven’t said exactly where it will be located.Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani told the Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/14iwLLJ ) that the flag would make Richmond look like a “backwater, trailer park, hick town.”...

  • Originally published 08/02/2013

    Artifacts from Virginia-area museums in running for top 10 ‘endangered’ designation

    RICHMOND, Va. — At the William King Museum in the heart of Appalachia, a panel of 16 small paintings depicting water mills along the region’s landscape is deteriorating, and along with it, important chronicles of southwest Virginia’s rural culture.The series of canvases taped to flimsy wood paneling is flaking and curators at the Abingdon museum are hoping to conserve it through a program has helped some of those previously involved apply for grants and help with fundraising efforts....

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Virginia Museum of Fine Arts plans to rehab pre-Civil War house, turn it into visitor center

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is planning to turn a pre-Civil War house on its Richmond property into a regional visitor center.Officials plan to complete the work to rehabilitate the historic three-story, 9,000-square-foot Robinson House by the summer of 2015. The building currently serves as a storage facility.Once complete, the circa-1850 building will include a visitor center on the first floor as well as a gallery interpreting the site’s history going back to the days of American Indians....

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Likely Virginia site of complex Indian empire

    GLOUCESTER, Va. — A farm field overlooking the York River in Tidewater Virginia is believed to be where Pocahontas interceded with her powerful father Powhatan to rescue English Capt. John Smith from death.That’s a fanciful footnote for many Virginia Indians, historians and archaeologists, who say the real story is that this land was the center of a complex, sprawling empire ruled by Powhatan long before the first permanent English settlement in American was founded in 1607. It was called Werowocomoco, which roughly translates to a “place of chiefs.”...

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Fairfax man one of nation's top collectors of African America

    He’s a white, 67-year-old jazz saxophone player from Takoma Park. And now, from his townhouse in Fairfax County, Mark E. Mitchell has amassed a collection of African American memorabilia which places him at the forefront of experts in African American history, and which became a driving force in the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.The Post’s Lonnae O’Neal Parker crafted a superb profile of Mitchell which appeared in Sunday’s Post Magazine, and you should read it now. Among other things we learn, as we see and read about items such as a handwritten poem by 18th-century slave Phillis Wheatley, is that a number of Redskin players used to visit Mitchell to learn about their history, and that he pushed then-Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) to join Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) to pass the legislation creating the African American museum on the Mall. Groundbreaking took place last year and the opening is scheduled for 2015....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Va. GOP nominee: Three-fifths clause "anti-slavery"

    The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia has called the Constitution’s original clause to count blacks as three-fifths of a person an “anti-slavery amendment.”In an April 28, 2011 statement while he was a Senate candidate, conservative minister and lawyer E.W. Jackson held up the three-fifths clause as an “anti-slavery” measure. The context of his statement was to attack President Obama after a pastor at a church service he attended referred to the three-fifths clause as a historical marker of racism.“Rev. [Charles Wallace] Smith must not have understood the 3/5ths clause was an anti-slavery amendment. Its purpose was to limit the voting power of slave holding states,” Jackson, an African-American, said in his statement....The clause was demanded by Southern proponents of slavery as a way of enhancing their congressional representation. They wanted slaves to be counted as full persons but settled on three-fifths. People of African descent would have had no real rights either way. The inclusion of the clause greatly enhanced the South’s political power and made it harder to abolish slavery. The clause was effectively eliminated after the Civil War by the Thirteenth Amendment....

  • Originally published 05/19/2013

    Another Thomas Jefferson Tried to Eliminate Slavery in Virginia

    This article is adapted from Thomas Fleming’s new book, A Disease In the Public Mind – A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. Part two of a three-part series (read parts one and two). Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Credit: Monticello.

  • Originally published 05/16/2013

    Attorney fights to move Confederate soldier statue from Virginia courthouse

    A statue honoring Confederate soldiers that has stood for more than 100 years outside a Leesburg, Va., courthouse is now at the center of a battle between an attorney and residents.The statue, which reads “In memory of the Confederate Soldiers of Loudoun County, Va. Erected May 28, 1908,” shows a soldier standing guard with his rifle, WTOP reports.John Flannery, an attorney who regularly hears cases inside the courthouse, said the statue intimidates clients and should be moved into a museum or graveyard."It deters people. It chills them from believing they can get a fair shake in court," Flannery told WTOP....

  • Originally published 05/13/2013

    Preservation Virginia releases its annual list of ‘most endangered’ places, sites

    RICHMOND, Va. — Preservation Virginia’s annual most endangered list includes Arlington National Cemetery, a network of rural schools that aimed to improve educational opportunities for young black students in rural areas, and Manassas Battlefield.The private, non-profit preservation group on Monday identified eight places, buildings and sites that it concludes face “imminent or sustained” threats, even to the point of their survival in some cases. The threats include planned roads, neglect or development....— Arlington National Cemetery, threatened by the 27-acre Millennium Project expansion. It would disrupt the cemetery’s surroundings and destroy a 12-acre section of Arlington House Woods, as well as its old-growth hardwoods and a historic boundary wall.— Rosenwalds Schools, a rural school building program by Julius Rosenwald to provide a better public education to African-American students in the segregated South. A total 381 of the schools were built in Virginia. They are now threatened with demolition and neglect....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    Cannibalism confirmed at Jamestown

    The first chops, to the forehead, did not go through the bone and are perhaps evidence of hesitancy about the task. The next set, after the body was rolled over, were more effective. One cut split the skull all the way to the base.“The person is truly figuring it out as they go,” said Douglas Owsley, a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution.In the meantime, someone — perhaps with more experience — was working on a leg. The tibia bone is broken with a single blow, as one might do in butchering a cow.That’s one possible version of an event that took place sometime during the winter of 1609-1610 in Jamestown. What’s not in doubt is that some members of that desperate colony resorted to cannibalism in order to survive....

  • Originally published 04/17/2013

    Va. Group Looks to Preserve Monticello’s View

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The foundation that owns Thomas Jefferson’s estate hopes to take efforts to preserve Monticello’s spectacular mountain views a step further, an idea that worries some developers.A request the group filed with the Albemarle County Planning Commission calls for nearly quadrupling the size of what’s known as the Monticello viewshed and expanding voluntary guidelines for developers in the region.“There’s a reason we’re up there with the pyramids and the Great Wall,” said Leslie Greene Bowman , president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “It has a lot do with Jefferson’s vision, not only figuratively but literally.”...

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