Tag Archives: Virginia

Remembering a 1939 sit-down strike

On this date in 1939, Samuel Wilbert Tucker and six collaborators staged what has got to be one of the cleverest civil rights sit-ins of all time. One by one, William Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange went to the circulation desk at the Alexandria (VA, US) Public Library and requested library cards. As each was refused a card to use the library his taxes supported, he quietly went to the stacks, selected a book, sat at a table, and began to read it. Then the next followed with the same request, result, and action.

S. J. Ackerman’s 2000 account, published as “Samuel Wilbert Tucker: The Unsung Hero of the School Desegregation Movement” in Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, begins with the priceless description of these events shown at the right. Eventually, of course, library managers and city officials summoned the police. Meanwhile, according to story, Robert Strange (the sixth collaborator) raced to Mr. Tucker’s nearby law office and alterted him about how the events were occuring.

Inside the library, the police arrested the miscreant readers and led them outside. When they emerged from the library, the officers and five collaborators found 300 spectators, according to Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Tucker’s ploy had worked spectactularly on the ground, though it didn’t generate as much press as one might have hoped. According to Mr. Ackerman’s account, “The media paid scant attention to the episode. Preoccupied with the Hitler-Stalin pact, disclosed that same day, the Washington Star missed the story. The Post reported that ‘five colored youths’ had staged a ‘sit-down strike.’ The Times Herald and the African-American Washington Tribune used similar terminology.”

Even if it didn’t make a big splash, the 1939 sit-down strike in a public library sounds like an early incident in something pretty important. Civil rights. Non-violence. Rule of law. Access to public services. The list could go on and on….

There are sequels to this story: Mr. Tucker was later offered a library card for a “colored library,” and he refused it. He later co-founded an eminent law firm in Richmond (VA, US) and argued important civil rights cases, many before the US Supreme Court (including Green v. County School Board of New Kent County). He served for many years as the representative of Virginia’s NAACP. And very much more.

You can read more about Mr. Tucker including Mr. Ackerman’s account and the Wikimedia biographical entry about him.


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Filed under Civil rights, Education, Equity, Justice, Neighborhood, Non-violence, Peace, Politics, Thanks for reading

U.Va. hoops: Not boring!

I like seeing defensive basketball played well, and the University of Virginia men’s team has been doing that frequently recently. The team stakes its game on intensive defensive pressure, often holding opponents to fewer than 50 points and sometimes even fewer than 40 points in games. The local crowd applauds blocks, tips, and steals vigorously and gets really loud when the defense forces the opponent into the last 10 seconds of the shot clock.

Over a couple of weeks, there was a flurry of discussion about whether the style of play constituted boring basketball. The coach dismissed the criticism and the team seems to enjoy the crowds’ enthusiasm for its defense.

I was just looking at the changes in U.Va.’s offense and defense over the past three coaches.* I noticed that the defense has, indeed, improved in recent years, as reflected in Ken Pomeroy’s opponent-adjusted points allowed per 100 possessions. The trend is clearly that the recent U.Va. teams are giving up fewer points. And, the trend is that U.Va. is clearly scoring more points per 100 possessions, too. So, how boring is that?

Of course, the tempo at which Tony Bennett’s teams play (adjusted tempo is Mr. Pomeroy’s metric; possessions per 40 minutes adjusted for opponents) is markedly lower than the pace at which previous teams have played. Why is the recent trend toward slower play? Virginia does not often race the ball up the court after other teams’ made baskets or after gaining possession via a rebound or steal. The team runs a set offense routinely. But, remember, Virginia is a team that forces the other team to use a lot of the clock, and that reduces the number of possessions, too.

With a win Monday night, this not-so-boring-to-me brand of basketball would make U.Va. the first school outside of North Carolina, Duke, and N.C. State to win consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular season titles outright.

*For 2015, the data reflect only the first 28 games.

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Filed under Amusements, Hoops, Neighborhood, Notes and comments

Report from Hippiedom circa 2013

In case you folks didn’t realize it, a history train from my youth pulled through nearby Nelson County last weekend. I was only there for 50% of the time (sorta like my youth?), but I didn’t see you, so I thought I ought to report about the experience. Perhaps you can amplify….

It was called “Lock’n Festival” but before that it was called “Interlocken Music Festival” and in some dreams it might have been called “Bonnaroo Virginia” or “Bonnaroo Reinvented” or “Woodstock” or even the “Griffith Park Love-In” or “Summer of Love” or something like that. At least, I suspect the promoters hoped that’s what would happen (but without the free soup kitchens and with a lot more capitalistic success).
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Snake dreams—don’t run away

Among the many marvelous features at Virginia’s Herpatological Society are excellent photographs of of indigenous snakes along with important information about their status in the Commonwealth. For example, not only can one learn where different subspecies are usually found—I saw a beautiful, > 1-meter Northern Black Racer on our porch this afternoon; it went racing down the garden stairs after it saw me!— but also size, alternative names, and many other facts (e.g., conservation needs). Of course, because folks get freaky about venomous snakes, there are identification guides, though that part is pretty easy.

Glossy Crayfish Snake

But, back to the other interesting stuff. For example, I was surprised to learn that there is a Glossy Crayfish Snake. I’d never heard of such! It turns out that this beauty has a range that is restricted pretty much to what is called the Virginia Pennisula, and then only a small part of it. The Wikipedia page about the GCS didn’t have it even living in Virginia, so I updated that document, based on the VaDGIF documents.

What’s a serious bummer is that this snake apparently is on the verge of extirpation in the Commonwealth. Now, I like crayfish, but I don’t mind competing against a little snake for a few. They may have have their share, but I don’t want to drive them out of Virginia; they’ve surely been here longer then I have. I have to guess they are losing in the space wars…people probably are moving into their territory. Read all about it! Wouldn’t that be a bummer if they were no longer living in that neighborhood?

Meanwhile, among the other cool things one can do at the Herp Site: If you see a Box Turtle, submit the data! Yep, you might remember Brer Terrapin because he won the race. Well his appearances on roadsides and backyards are being collected by the Herp Folx. Send yours in today using this link. (There ought to be an app for this, but for now, the image is hot, too.) It’d be pretty cool to help track the movements of large numbers of Box Turtles, no?

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Filed under Amusements, Eco-stuff, Neighborhood, News, Notes and comments, Science, Technology

Carol Finch

Carol Finch

Carol Finch
11 December 1953—4 March 2013
long-time volunteer around the C’ville racing scene, as she appeared at the North Garden Chicken Run in 2007.

Our friend Carol Finch died last night 4 March 2013. She directed multiple events annually, scored scores and scores of other races during her lifetime, coached lots of novice race directors, served repeatedly on the board of the local track club, and helped in many other ways with Charlottesville’s local racing community. Probably the Charlottesville Track Club’s Lifetime Service Award should be renamed the “Carol Finch Lifetime Service Award” in her honor.

Oh, and don’t forget that she also greeted lots of dogs that visited race sites and was a discerning sampler of any homemade goomies available for post-race snacking.

Update 8 March: Read Mark Lorenzoni’s fine tribute to Carol in his column, The Daily Run. Watch the CTC Website for notes about events celebrating her life. Read the obituary for Carol with recommendations about donations.

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Filed under Neighborhood, Notes and comments, Running

Waiting for My Fool Heart

Here we were last night at the C’ville test screening of My Fool Heart, the film I mentioned a couple-few years ago. Folks were filing into the Paramount Theater on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Jim Waive and Sian Richards were in the lobby when we arrived, but we just said “Hi” quickly to them and then hustled into the house as we wanted to get good seats. This was the view from the second row of the balcony waiting for the series of slides showing coming events to end. Though it looks a bit sparse in this photo, once everyone left the party in the lobby and took seats, there was a good house.

Paramount Theater house view of My Fool Heart test screening.

View from the balcony of the scene in Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater at the test screening of My Fool Heart 20121117 [Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

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Madness on the DT Mall?

Did you know that there’s a mad woman loose on Hookville’s downtown mall? It’s more than an idle rumor. It’s actually The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giradoux, re-imagined by Kay Ferguson and a troupe of veteran players who have been engaged in intense physical training for months as they developed their version of the 1940s play.

The Madwoman of Chaillot is the story of a witty, eccentric woman who rallies a band of artists, workers, and down-and-out characters in a clever plan to disrupt avaricious plans of powerful figures who are bent on sacrificing beauty to obtain profits. As Ms. Ferguson says, the story sounds a lot like “Right Now, USA.”

The first performance is 6:00 PM 6 September 2012, and it’s running all through the month of September. The troupe is using a novel approach to the production, starting with a first act for free on the mall, then parading to The Haven, where they’ll accept donations for the second act, part of which will go to The Haven. Read all about the project, the players, and more.

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