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Charlottesville 2017

The Legacy of Race and Inequity
Louis P. Nelson and Claudrena N. Harold

BUY Cloth · 244 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813941899 · $39.50 · Aug 2018
BUY Ebook · 244 pp. · ISBN 9780813941912 · $39.50 · Aug 2018
BUY Paper · 244 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813941905 · $19.95 · Aug 2018

When hate groups descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, triggering an eruption of racist violence, the tragic conflict reverberated throughout the world. It also had a profound effect on the University of Virginia’s expansive community, many of whose members are involved in teaching issues of racism, public art, free speech, and social ethics. In the wake of this momentous incident, scholars, educators, and researchers have come together in this important new volume to thoughtfully reflect on the historic events of August 11 and 12, 2017.

How should we respond to the moral and ethical challenges of our times? What are our individual and collective responsibilities in advancing the principles of democracy and justice? Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity brings together the work of these UVA faculty members catalyzed by last summer’s events to examine their community’s history more deeply and more broadly. Their essays—ranging from John Mason on the local legacy of the Lost Cause to Leslie Kendrick on free speech to Rachel Wahl on the paradoxes of activism—examine truth telling, engaged listening, and ethical responses, and aim to inspire individual reflection, as well as to provoke considered and responsible dialogue. This prescient new collection is a conversation that understands and owns America’s past and—crucially—shows that our past is very much part of our present.

Contributors: Asher D. Biemann * Gregory B. Fairchild * Risa Goluboff * Bonnie Gordon * Claudrena N. Harold * Willis Jenkins * Leslie Kendrick * John Edwin Mason * Guian McKee * Louis P. Nelson * P. Preston Reynolds * Frederick Schauer * Elizabeth R. Varon * Rachel Wahl * Lisa Woolfork


This book is a must-read for anyone still trying to process the events of August 11-12, 2017. The authors, all UVA professors, bring a unique, personal perspective to this analysis. In crafting these incisive chapters, they help to confront and invert UVA’s complicity in promoting racism. This is a hallmark of thoughtful, responsible intellectual leadership. As a concerned American, a proud UVA alumna, and a scholar of race and politics, I recommend this book to anyone who seeks to broaden their perspective on the overlapping issues of white supremacy, free speech, public policy and the role of the university in promoting equality.

Andra Gillespie, Emory University, author of The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America

This book delivers engaging, wide-ranging responses to the dramatic days of August 11 and 12 in Charlottesville. It will be a genuinely important contribution to both the specifics of those incidents and the histories behind them and has much to offer readers trying to make sense of those bewildering events.

Nicole Hemmer, University of Virginia, author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics

Charlottesville 2017 makes clear that the chaos that overtook Charlottesville’s streets was only the latest episode in a long struggle between antiracists and white supremacists over the city’s and the university’s resources and symbolic weight.


Charlottesville 2017 is a timely collection of more than a dozen essays penned by professors from a diverse range of fields at the University of Virginia (UVA). The book provides excellent context for helping to better understand, both historically and today, how a combustible combination of forces – racism, antisemitism, free expression, violence and efforts toward equality – exploded at and around one the nation’s foremost educational institutions. The same forces, of course, could easily erupt elsewhere, so the lessons here – although grounded in a single venue – are more broadly applicable.

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