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Richmond’s Unhealed History

Brandylane is proud to announce the release of Richmond’s Unhealed History by the Rev. Benjamin P. Campbell, a Rhodes Scholar and Episcopalian priest. In many ways, Richmond, Virginia is a microcosm of America’s history and current political economic situation, making this work of paramount relevance to citizens of all stripes, everywhere.

Rev. Campbell examines the contradictions and crises that have formed Richmond over more than four centuries (PDF), from before Columbus to the current era. Centered on ideas of spiritual and social justice, Rev. Campbell believes the people of Richmond can prove to the world that race and class can be conquered by the deliberate and prayerful intention of honest and dedicated citizens.

I’ve skimmed a preview copy of this and I’m really looking forward to having the time to really dig into it. Rev.Campbell’s voice and perspective is a welcome addition to the ever-growing pantheon of RVA-centric books.

Here is a piece from the book that delves into the Fan a little bit:

The 1890s brought the revival of Confederate sentiment for the “Lost Cause.” Monuments in Richmond show the power of Confederate themes in that time. The first and largest of these, the Lee Monument, was unveiled on May 29, 1890. The ceremony began with a procession of 15,000 Confederate veterans leading a crowd which eventually totaled more than 100,000 from the Market at 17th and Main streets to the site on the city’s western edge, accompanied by Generals Fitzhugh Lee, Joseph Johnston, James Longstreet, and Jubal Early. The New York Times said the statue was unveiled “in the presence of the largest and most distinguished gathering assembled here in a quarter of a century.” Addressing the crowd, Governor Philip McKinney opened the ceremony. According to the Times reporter, he said “that the love of the Southern people for those who fell in battle in their behalf was unconquerable, and that while there were no more loyal people to the Government under which they lived, the people of the South would never forget its gallant dead.

The Lee Monument was the focus of a new real estate development, which moved the center of the city west. By 1907, statues to General J.E.B. Stuart and President Jefferson Davis had been added on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. In the east, a tall column honoring Confederate soldiers and sailors was erected in 1894, facing the river at Libby Park. The new housing developments also spread out the population of the city and hastened both racial and class segregation.

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