Aired: February 3, 2018

Civil Rights and Civil War Markers

The statue of Maggie Walker surrounded by a crowd. Image credit: Kelley Libby, used with permission.

  • A New Monument in Richmond (18 min.)

    With: Dr. Colita Fairfax (Norfolk State University)

    Maggie Walker was an African American teacher and businesswoman and the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the United States. A monument to her now stands in the former capital of the Confederacy.

  • Fredericksburg's Commemorative Landscape (10 min.)

    With: Stephen Hanna (University of Mary Washington)

    A town’s historical markers tell visitors the story of a place. But what do they leave out? We take a walking tour of Fredericksburg, Virginia’s historic markers and monuments to understand its untold stories.

  • A Conversation with Ruby Sales (24 min.)

    With: Ruby Sales

    After the “Unite the Right” rally by white supremacists, Civil rights leader and public theologian Ruby Sales traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to engage in a public conversation about social justice and spirituality.



2 Comments on “Civil Rights and Civil War Markers”

  1. David Lynch, Richmond, VA

    I appreciated the airing of the conversation with Ruby Sales. I am not familiar with her work, but I intend to look her up. What follows is my initial reaction.

    While it was billed as a conversation, I was troubled by the way in which Ms. Sales questioned and then lectured the young man from UVA. Her larger point seemed to be that younger activists should seek opportunities to learn from older generations of African-Americans as it relates to the civil rights struggle and the battle against white supremacy. Indeed, those who have experienced segregation, violence, and oppression first-hand can be incredible sources of inspiration, knowledge, and strategy. However, her questions to him were more like statements, and when he struggled to respond, she rolled into another monologue. An attitude or voice that says, “Well, let me tell YOU something,” does not advance ANY conversation, whether between the right and the left, white and black, or black civil rights elder and young black activist.

    At age 43, I feel trapped between the generations: my mother is proud to have marched with Dr. King in Detroit where she grew up. Personally, I have benefited greatly from the struggles of her generation and those previous to hers. And while I have experienced micro-aggressions and outright racism in my lifetime, I have not full embraced what the Black Lives Matter movement has become. I do not fully identify with either group, but have respect and admiration for both.

    I will go back and listen to the conversation again with an open heart. It seemed to be a worthwhile discussion. In the meantime, let’s all do a little more listening. It’s what this country needs right now.

    1. sbm2p

      Thank you for your comment David. I understand your frustration and wish I had better characterized the setting for the dialogue between Ruby Sales and the student, Wes Gobar. You’re right that this wasn’t really a back and forth conversation with give and take. It was billed as a “master class” where the veteran civil rights leader would both discuss and teach as she interacted with the student. They were in front of an audience of appreciative young people who had lots of questions for Ms. Sales afterward. We also edited this session to fit the 20 minutes of airtime. In spite of the editing shortcomings, I was wowed by the frank and personal discussion of race and where we go from here. Sarah McConnell

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