Charlottesville Has a Long History With the KKK

The home of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, has become a particularly quiet and progressive college town in recent years. In fact, 80 percent of the voters in the small city voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. So why would the left-leaning town, where roughly 47,000 people currently live, be chosen for white nationalist rally headed by the alt-right?

Charlottesville city council in April voted to remove a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee, one of the last standing Confederate monuments in the state. The statue stands in a park that was also recently renamed from Lee Park to Emancipation Park. Although the removal of the statue is still pending litigation, white nationalists are opposing the decision in an effort to cling on to their white history.

White rights activist Jason Kessler, a Charlottesville resident who organized Saturday’s “Unite the Right” protest, blamed all “the anti-white hatred that’s coming out of the city” as the reason for the rally, CNN reported.

White nationalist rally chose Charlottesville for a reason

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. August 11, 2017. Picture taken August 11, 2017. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via REUTERS.

“This entire community is a very far left community that has absorbed these cultural Marxist principles advocated in college towns across the country, about blaming white people for everything,” Kessler told CNN on Friday.

However, the tearing down of the monument may not be the only reason why Charlottesville became a prime location for alt-right leaders to hold a rally. The small city’s history is muddled in racism.

The town, considered a community of the Jim Crow South back in the early 1900s, was the last in America to desegregate schools following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown v. Board of Education, which allowed black children to attend historically white-only schools. Despite ordering desegregation with “all deliberate speed,” in 1955, Virginia strongly resisted the ruling. Some schools even shut down in Charlottesville before finally allowing integration in 1958.

In 2015, Charlottesville was under fire for racist behavior following the violent arrest of Martese Johnson, a third-year student at the University. Johnson, a black man, was confronted by three white police officers who,…

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