UVA Professor and Guest Historian Host Confederate Monument Tour

Posted: Updated: Sep 22, 2018 11:09 PM
Robert E Lee statue Robert E Lee statue
Jalane Schmidt Jalane Schmidt
Kevin Levin Kevin Levin

On Saturday, some teachers in the community attended a tour of Confederate monuments in downtown Charlottesville. Jalane Schmidt, a professor of race and religion at the University of Virginia, and Kevin Levin, a historian visiting from Boston, MA, guided the attendees through Charlottesville's history. 

Schmidt highlighted the importance of understanding the context of Charlottesville’s controversial past. “Over the past three years, all the debates you know we've been having about Confederate monuments and all the violence that took place in our streets, some people are even willing to kill for a symbol in this sort of thing.”

The tour was part of Teacher Professional Development Day.

"A lot of these discussions across the country about Confederate monuments, they tend to involve people older who learn their history perhaps decades ago but the decisions that are being made in places like Charlottesville about what should be done with these specific sites, I mean, they are going to now impact the kids now that are coming of age," said Levin.

The tour began at the slave auction block in Court Square and then went to sites such as the Thomas Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee statues.

"To think about how to engage the community, how to move forward after last August, both in terms of how to think about the monuments that still exist and to perhaps think about ways in which the community can enrich its commemorative landscape with new monuments and memorials," said Levin.

Schmidt and Levin say everyone should take the time to learn more about the history of Charlottesville to better understand how to address present issues. Events such as this tour make that history accessible.