When Charleston fell and Confederate troops evacuated the badly damaged city, those freed from enslavement remained. One of the first things those emancipated men and women did was to give the fallen Union prisoners a proper burial. They exhumed the mass grave and reinterred the bodies in a new cemetery with a tall whitewashed fence inscribed with the words: “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
And then on May 1, 1865, something even more extraordinary happened. According to two reports that Blight found in The New York Tribune and The Charleston Courier, a crowd of 10,000 people, mostly freed slaves with some white missionaries, staged a parade around the race track. Three thousand Black schoolchildren carried bouquets of flowers and sang “John Brown’s Body.” Members of the famed 54th Massachusetts and other Black Union regiments were in attendance and performed double-time marches. Black ministers recited verses from the Bible.
It seems that a healthy handful of White folks wait to express their outrage and disgust over racial injustice after a highly publicized or sensationalized tragedy takes place. Often, after a new hashtag begins trending on social media, a variety of tweets and posts speaking out against anti-Blackness and anti-Black violence soon follow. Which, I suppose, is fine, but very few extend far beyond their comfort zone in their advocacy efforts. This is not to say that allyship in any form is not helpful, but it’s time to start being clear about what is needed and what ultimately perpetuates White supremacy and further insulates White guilt. Let’s be honest: to combat anti-Blackness in America, we don’t need allies. We need abolitionists.
While following the Derek Chauvin trial, I’ve noticed one common theme that also struck me immediately following the gruesome killing of George Floyd – White people speaking out against racism after the fact. It seems that a healthy handful of White folks wait to express their outrage and disgust over racial injustice after a highly publicized or sensationalized tragedy takes place.
Protests rage once again in Minneapolis after another Black man, Daunte Wright, was killed by police, and a newly released video from Virginia shows a Black Army lieutenant in uniform getting pepper-sprayed by police.
The Culpeper Branch #7058 stands in solidarity with the Isle of Wight Chapter and the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP in calling on Governor Ralph Northam to call a special legislative session to pass HB2045 sponsored by Del. Jeff Bourne. Local, state and federal officials must properly investigate this matter to the fullest extent, and propose a Plan of Action for the Town of Windsor and the Commonwealth of Virginia to immediately act on.
Contest Open to Students in Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties
Culpeper, VA February 10, 2021 – The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP, also serving Madison and Rappahannock counties, has announced its sponsorship of a student essay contest in commemoration of Black History Month. The contest is open to elementary, middle, and high school students in Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock counties.
Contest winners will be recognized by the NAACP Culpeper Branch at the March meeting and will also win a gift certificate.
Elementary School Students
Elementary school students should submit an essay of up to 250 words addressing the question, “What does African American history mean to me?” The student submitting the winning essay will receive a $50 gift certificate.
Middle School Students
Middle school students should submit an essay of up to 250 words addressing the question: “What is the most important moment in African American history to you and why?” The student submitting the winning essay will receive a $150 gift certificate.
High School Students
High school students should submit an essay of up to 500 words addressing the question: “Why is African American history so critical to the history of the United States?” The student submitting the winning essay will receive a $300 gift certificate.
Essays should be submitted via email to email@example.com by February 28, 2021. Essays can also be mailed to NAACP Culpeper, P.O. Box 687, Culpeper, VA, 22701, and should have a postmark no later than February 28. The winners will be announced in March.
Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. The NAACP has more than 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over two million activists. The organization’s mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP meets on the third Thursday evening of the month at 7 pm and is currently meeting via Zoom. For more information on meetings, events, and membership, visit www.naacpculpeper.org. For Zoom links and call-in information for meetings, please email email@example.com or call 540-948-4092.
In lieu of holding our annual Freedom Fund Banquet, we are appealing to our members and friends to send a donation to support this important cause. Tickets to the event would have been $50 each; we welcome any contribution you can make to further our efforts to advance racial justice through advocacy, education, and outreach. In particular, this fund helps support our annual high school scholarships. All those who contribute by October 31 will be eligible for our raffle drawings of gifts from local merchants and businesses! Donations should be mailed to NAACP Culpeper Branch, P.O. Box 687, Culpeper, VA, 22701.
The Culpeper branch of the NAACP holds its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the public library at 271 Southgate Shopping Center, Culpeper 22701. All are welcome; you do not have to be a member to attend.