Celebrating a new era in Charlottesville
On Saturday evening July 30th, at sunset, the Memory Project premiered a 30-minute documentary “Unveiling: The Origin of Charlottesville Monuments,” at Market Street Park, formerly Lee Park. Attendees were in lawn chairs, and on blankets, as Memory Project representatives served popcorn Those gathered cheered along with the crowd in the film footage as they commemorated a special date.
They were celebrating June 10, 2021, the day "Charlottesville residents, supporters from surrounding counties, and millions around the world tuned in to watch" as black business owner Devon Henry and his construction team removed both the Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues on July 9, 2021. The film is presented in a documentary-style film and includes archive photos and articles, some of which date back as far as the 19th century.
Stonewall Jackson and Johnny Reb were also subjects of the documentary
The Memory Project documentary also expounded upon the Johnny Reb and Stonewall Jackson monuments as well as the slave auction block marker on Park Street. African American Jalane Schmidt, executive producer, director of the Memory Project, and associate professor of race and religion at the University of Virginia had this to say
“When we did the tours, there was an ominous feeling in those spaces where the statues stood,” Schmidt said. For people in marginalized communities, it sent a clear message that said ‘you shouldn’t be here, you don’t belong.”
NPR radio says that hundreds of confederate statues memorials and names have been removed from public places as communities rethink what parts of history should be venerated. There are thousands of other relics of the Confederate past. Schmidt was interviewed by Debbie Elliot of UVA and put things in perspective by saying the following:. "Rather, we will be more deliberate about the sorts of values that we want to display in our public spaces."