On the evening of Friday, August 11, 2017, an assembly of more than 200 members of white supremacist, alt-right, neo-Nazi, and pro-Confederate groups from throughout the country converged on the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, for a torch-lit march through central campus. The procession, with members’ shouting slogans of “Blood and soil!” “You will not replace us!” “Jews will not replace us!” and “White lives matter!”, was the precursor to a planned “Unite the Right” rally, scheduled to take place the next day to protest the Charlottesville City Council’s recent vote to remove a Confederate monument dedicated to Robert E. Lee. As the marchers paraded through the University’s campus, counter-protests quickly emerged and tensions escalated.
On Saturday, August 12, the rally began to culminate in recently renamed Emancipation Park, location of the Lee statue. White nationalist rally-goers, many heavily armed, filed into the park amid the outcry of a diverse gathering of counter-protesters. Those opposing the white nationalists included members of anti-fascist groups, Black Lives Matter supporters, local residents, church congregations, and civil rights leaders. In the absence of police intervention, clashes between rally-goers and counter-protesters became more volatile, and eventually led law enforcement to declare the rally an unlawful assembly.
As rally-goers and counter-protesters dispersed, sporadic clashes continued. Approximately two hours after the City of Charlottesville declared a local state of emergency, a neo-Nazi named James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car directly into a crowd of counter-protesters, wounding at least 18 people and killing a 32-year-old white woman named Heather Heyer.
The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked national press coverage and debate regarding race, white supremacy, and Confederate iconography.
“The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is proud to present A History of Racial Injustice – 2018 Calendar. America’s history of racial inequality continues to undermine fair treatment, equal justice, and opportunity for many Americans. The genocide of Native people, the legacy of slavery and racial terror, and the legally supported abuse of racial minorities are not well understood. EJI believes that a deeper engagement with our nation’s history of racial injustice is important to addressing present-day questions of social justice and equality.