"Unite the Right" Rally and Community Response collection
Scope and Contents
The analog materials in series 1 follow a chronological organization beginning with materials from the months leading up to August 11 and 12, 2017 found in series 1, subseries 1. The collection begins with materials from the July 8, 2017 KKK rally and documents regarding that rally and its aftermath, and some printed email correspondence from police and Charlottesville City Council. These materials document some of the context and backdrop of the “Unite the Right” rally.
In series 1, subseries 2 the materials help document events of August 11 and 12, and some of the circumstances surrounding those events. Printed email correspondence disclose some of the activities of the Charlottesville Police Department and of city council members during and after the demonstrations. Artifacts from the August 11, 2017 torch-lit rally and from the August 12 “Unite the Right” rally provide evidence of the activities during those events. Printed ephemera, like pamphlets, zines, and flyers reveal some of the activities of Charlottesville’s residents and their expressions in anticipation of, and in response to the day’s events. Series 1, subseries 3 contains materials relating to the “Unite the Right” rally from after August 12, 2017. The majority of the correspondents in this subseries are condolence materials. Condolence letters and letters of support include those sent or addressed to Mayor Michael Signer, Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy, members of the Charlottesville City Council, Charlottesville City Hall, the city of Charlottesville, and Heather Heyer. Condolence letters and letters of support were sent from public offices and municipalities, religious organizations, educational and professional institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, political organizations, and from individuals and communities from around the world. Many of the condolence letters and letters of support that were sent from public offices and municipalities include motions reached at town meetings, proclamations and resolutions denouncing white supremacy, white nationalism and groups demonstrating hate and bigotry in support of Charlottesville’s citizens, and signatures of citizens to pledge solidarity with the city of Charlottesville. Condolence artifacts of various formats were also sent to Charlottesville City Hall and document the varied kinds of expressions of support and solidarity. The artifacts in this subseries also includes the broken nose of the "Faith" statue, which is the front of the Stonewall Jackson statute's granite pedestal in Court Square Park.
The other types of correspondence in this subseries include letters and one restricted typed narrative that presents an assessment of the events of August 12, 2017 from one person's point of view. Some of the letters are addressed to members of Charlottesville City Hall and City Council that express severe criticism of the manner in which the mayor and members of city council, and the Charlottesville Police Department handled the events of August 12, 2017. Other letters also express dissatisfaction of Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove the Lee and Jackson statues, while also attempting to convey a particular narrative of southern history. Some correspondence also expresses severely racist comments towards black people and people of color, in general. Also in this subseries are materials that demonstrate the community plans and response for the anniversaries of the "Unite the Right" Rally. These include flyers for protests one year after the event, fliers and brochures handed out during the "Reclaim the Park" anniversary event in 2020, a press conference announcement, zines, and a listing of anti-racist events with a collection of comments from Charlottesville anti-racist activists.
The periodical issues with articles about the events of August 11 and 12 portray the mainstream local and national reactions. The other print materials and ephemera collected after August 12, the copy of a legal complaint filed against Jason Kessler and other parties, the official report released by lawyers in Charlottesville, and the audio-cassette recording of songs by a local musician all document some of the responses of Charlottesville’s communities and residents.
The digital materials in series two consist of both born digital and digitized analog materials. Some documentation was contributed by a number of Charlottesville community members, city residents, students, and university staff alike via the “Unite the Right” Rally and Community Response digital collection website created by the University of Virginia Library. While some digital photographs were taken at the July 8 KKK rally, the majority were taken during the August 12 “Unite the Right” rally. The photographs and videos of protesters and anti-protesters, of police, of symbols and messages, and of people and artwork away from the activities demonstrate the circumstances of the events, and of the community response to the violence and turmoil that unfolded. The written narratives provide documentation of the events and of the community response, as well, but also provide evidence of the emotional responses.
The growing collection of archived web pages provides a different kind of record of how the August 12 “Unite the Right” rally was perceived and documented. The collection of news and opinion articles from local, regional, and national sources, along with blogs, reddit threads, and a YouTube music video provides a small representation of responses to August 11 and 12, 2017 on the internet. The archived tweets and Twitter data-sets exhibit other forms of communication, like hashtags and emojis that can be included in the larger community of people responding to the events of August 12, 2017.
- Majority of material found within 2017-01-03 - 2018
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
17.6 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
This collection is arranged in two series, each of which has been further arranged into subseries. Series 1, Pysical (Analog) Materials, is arranged into three subseries, and each subseries is arranged into files. Each subseries in Series 1 is arranged chronologically relative to August 11 and 12, 2017. The contents of each subseries in Series 1 are arranged by type or format. Series 2, Digital Materials, is arranged into 4 subseries. The contents of Series 2 are arranged in general type or format, and each subseries is arranged by format. The series, subseries, and files are as follows:
Series 1, Physal (Analog) Materials
Subseries 1, Materials leading up to August 11 and 12, 2017 and the "Unite the Right" rally, 6/6/2017 - 8/10/2017 File 1, Correnspondence materials File 2, Announcements, flyers, pamphlets, publications File 3, Posters File 4, Articats Subseries 2: Materials from August 11 and 12, 2017, and the "Unite the Right" rally, 8/11/2017 - 8/12/2017 File 1, Correnspondence materials File 2, Announcements, flyers, pamphlets, publications File 3, Posters and signs File 4, Artifacts Subseries 3: Materials following August 11 and 12, 2017, and the "Unite the Right" rally 8/13/2017 - 2020 File 1, Correspondence materials: letters of support and other correspondence File 2, Announcements, flyers, pamphlets, publications File 3, Legal documents, official reports File 4, Artifacts File 5, Audio-visual materials
Series 2, Digital materials
Subseries 1: Stories and audiovisual materials submitted via online collection site Subseries 2: Archived web pages Subseries 3: Archived tweets and Twitter datasets Subseries 4: Digitized analog materials There are still a large number of digital and born-digital materials that have not been processed. They will become available when processing is complete.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- "Unite the Right" Rally and Community Response collection
- August 11 and 12, 2017 and Community Response collection
- Joseph Azizi
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States