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.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a force. It’s been unapologetic about who it represents and has been doing the work to point out the many racial injustices that African Americans face in the land of the (kinda) free. Eight years have passed since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Since then, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and a litany of other Black Americans have fallen to racial violence. The BLM movement, which started as a hashtag in 2013, sheds light on all those killings. It forces America to sit in its savagery.
The co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Alicia Garza, will be in conversation with Zora editor-in-chief Vanessa De Luca. March is Women’s History Month, but this coming together of two Black titans would be special anytime, anywhere. Find out what it took to organize the most important civil rights movement of the 21st century. And listen to what it truly means to go past a hashtag on social media.
If you spend more time on SWAT training than in de-escalation training, then the results will match that investment. If you spend more money on special combat assault rifles than funding positions and partnerships for mental health, then the results will match your investment.
In short, you get what you pay for; only, we’re all paying for it—with both our taxes and our lives.
We are a nation of plurality; our diversity is our strength. I would hope that despite where you fall on the political spectrum, you’ll hear my heart and help find solutions to the problems we face right here in Culpeper.
Reaves, Sledge, and Hunter Recognized for Commitment to Justice
Culpeper, Virginia February 18, 2021 – The Rev. Dr. Uzziah A. Harris, president of the NAACP Culpeper Branch, also representing Madison and Rappahannock counties, recently recognized three local advocates for equity and justice as “Captains of Community.” The awards were presented at the branch’s annual celebration event honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in January.
Brianna Simone Reaves, a student at the University of Mary Washington, was recognized as a community leader and activist for racial justice. Reaves is president of the NAACP’s University of Mary Washington Branch and vice president of the NAACP Virginia State Conference Youth and College Division. “Brianna has a voice that cannot be quieted,” Dr. Harris stated. “She was a co-organizer of the 2020 march in Culpeper protesting police brutality across the nation, a peaceful event that drew more than 800 people. She is a Dean’s List student and an exceptional advocate for the cause of racial justice.”
Dr. Harris also recognized Pastor Adrian Sledge as a Captain of Community. Sledge, a longtime community leader, founded the MOVE Ministry (Maximizing Opportunities and Gaining Victory Through Excellence) with his wife, Ronica. “Pastor Sledge has been an outstanding proponent for justice and change,” Dr. Harris stated. Sledge served as the keynote speaker for the NAACP Culpeper 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr., observance event.
The third Captain of Community award was presented to Amy M. Hunter of Culpeper. “The mother of three boys, Amy has served her family and her community with distinction,” Dr. Harris stated. “She created the petition and led the effort to remove the Confederate flag at Lenn Park. We thank her for her willingness and courage to speak up and take action in the fight for justice.”
The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP meets on the third Thursday evening of the month at 7 pm and is currently meeting via Zoom. The tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which originally aired on January 18 and features a number of speakers including Pastor Sledge, can be viewed on the NAACP Culpeper website or at https://naacpculpeper.org/mlk-2021-celebration/. For more information on meetings, events, and membership, visit www.naacpculpeper.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
This morning, the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee voted in a bipartisan fashion to advance SJR272, the constitutional voting rights amendment. This is a major Virginia NAACP VICTORY!
Laws that were passed in the early 1900s that put unreasonable restrictions can still be felt today. This amendment not only lifts restrictions on qualifications to vote for those who have been convicted of a felony or adjudicated to be mentally incompetent, but it ensures that restrictive, unethical, and racially biased laws cannot be enacted or enforced.
As you know, passing Senator Mamie Locke’s Constitutional Amendment is our #1 legislative priority for this session. Therefore, we are asking for your support over the next 24 hours to help apply pressure to Senators before it heads to the full Senate.
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.