Foreword: One Year After Charlottesville: Replacing the Resurgence of Racism with Reconciliation
On August 11 and 12, 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia — the home of the University of Virginia and this law journal — played unwitting host to two days of white nationalist and neo-Nazi rallies and violence. From the moment the events unfolded, it was clear that they resonated beyond Charlottesville itself. They preoccupied observers far flung from Charlottesville both for the violence and loss of life on display and for the stark evidence they provided of deep and enduring fault lines within our nation and our society.
This Foreword introduces a symposium focused on the racial implications and reverberations of August 11-12. The conference that produced these articles brought an annual national meeting of empirical critical race theorists to Charlottesville to train their considerable intellectual talents on the first anniversary of August 11-12. The resulting scholarship asks what we can learn from August 11-12 about the legal underpinnings of white supremacy in the United States, from the beginning of its history to the violence in 2017 and beyond. It investigates the surprise with which so many responded to August 11-12 and shows us why we should not be surprised. The articles in this symposium bring us closer to real and enduring change by requiring and inviting us to remember what has disappeared, to recast the historical narrative, and to ask anew what role the law has played in bringing us to this moment and what role it can and must play in moving us forward once again.