CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville community members are learning more about the racist history of the University of Virginia.

On Wednesday, May 15, as part of the city's Unity Days events leading up to the weekend of August 12, UVA professor Kirt von Daacke educated people about the history of blackface minstrelsy at the university.

He says it gained popularity after the Civil War when Confederate soldiers attended UVA as students.

“They return, and their views about slavery and race really haven’t changed,” von Daacke said. “And as the university grows, they’re witnessing the growth of a freed person population in Charlottesville that's actually kind of really successful in the 1870s and 1880s and it’s their reaction to that success.”

Von Daacke says blackface stopped appearing in UVA yearbooks and publications in the 1940s, but he says it lasted at the university until at least the 1970s.