Charlottesville Community Explores Link between Racism, Anti-Semitism
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville community is exploring the often untold side of the violence that occurred in the city in August 2017.
On Monday, May 13, as part of the city's Unity Days 2019 events, historian Phyllis Leffler explained how and why a rally in support of a Confederate monument targeted the Jewish community.
Leffler explained that there are deep-rooted connections between white supremacy, racism, and anti-Semitism, and she warned community members about the dangers Jewish community members face on a daily basis.
August 11 and 12 of 2017 will always be remembered in Charlottesville for the hatred displayed by white supremacists, but some say an overlooked story is the anti-Semitism displayed on those unforgettable days.
“When those guys were marching on the Lawn, they weren’t screaming ‘blacks will not replace us,’ they were screaming ‘Jews will not replace us,’” Coy Barefoot, the executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, said.
As part of Charlottesville's 2019 Unity Days events leading up to the second anniversary of that weekend, historians are taking a look at why white supremacists - allegedly celebrating a Confederate statue - targeted the Jewish community with chants and slurs.
“What does anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews have to do with a Confederate memorial?” Barefoot said. “How do we square that circle?”
Monday night, University of Virginia professor emerita Phyllis Leffler shared her research into the deep-seated connections between anti-Semitism and racism.
“White supremacy is a very, very large umbrella, and under that umbrella there are many, many different groups that are affected,” Leffler said.
Leffler says she is grateful so many people are taking an interest in helping out and supporting the Jewish community.
“It is absolutely inspiring,” Leffler said. “We live in a wonderful community here in Charlottesville, and the response of the local community to the hatred and the ugliness has been very, very encouraging.”
Unity Days events are scheduled all throughout the remainder of the spring and summer.
Coming up later this week, speakers will address the history of blackface and slavery at UVA.
Those events will take place on Wednesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 16, respectively in City Council chambers at 7 p.m.