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University of Virginia August 11 and 12, 2017: Recovery and Response web archive

 Collection — Digital_container: 1
Identifier: RG-50/3

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the Univeristy of Virginia's response to the events of August 11 and 12, including documentation created by President Sullivan's working group, progress updates, FAQs, community messages, and more. It also includes relevant articles published by UVA Today.


  • Creation: 2017

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is open for research via ArchiveIt.

Web content are based on user preferences and interests, and are thus adaptive, dynamic, and quickly changing. This can lead researchers to a number of challenges in viewing archived websites, including necessitating the use of multiple tools and a variety of search strategies.

Biographical / Historical

On the night of Friday August 11, 2017, the “Unite the Right” organizers held an unpermitted torchlit march at the University of Virginia. A group of several hundred men and women, identified by many sources as Alt-right members and white nationalists, gathered on UVA’s “nameless” field with lit torches in hand. They then marched on the main quadrangle of the University of Virginia’s grounds while chanting “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us”. They continued to walk around the Rotunda, then to the statue of Thomas Jefferson. At the base of the statue, the mob of white nationalists surrounded a small group of counter protesters before attacking them and injuring some.

According to news sources, University officials were informed of the planned march hours before it began. However, no action was taken to prevent the mob's tresspass onto University grounds, despite their violation of University policy. Nor was there any attempt made to prevent possible violence. Reports state that University officials and University Police were unprepared for the event, and University Police only dispersed the crowd after aid was provided by the Charlottesville Police Department.

On August 12, 2017, right-wing and white-nationalist groups gathered in Charlottesville to oppose a plan to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. This same plan also prompted a similar protest in May, 2017, led by white nationalist Richard Spencer, and a Ku Klux Klan rally on July 8, 2017. Jason Kessler had obtained a permit prior to August 12 to convene a rally at the Lee Statue, an event that was called “Unite the Right”. The rally was much larger than the July KKK rally that took place in Charlottesville, and was a more significant public safety challenge for officials and authorities, despite the attempt by city council to move the event’s location to McIntire Park.

Violence broke out ahead of the rally’s scheduled noon start, after which Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, declared a state of emergency. The Charlottesville Police Department and the Virginia State Police’s failure to coordinate in a unified command, in combination with general planning and coordination breakdowns, resulted in their inability to intervene in violent altercations, and to protect public safety. When unlawful assembly was declared, law enforcement officers pushed Alt-Right protesters in Emancipation Park back towards counter-protesters with whom they had been in conflict, generating even more violence.

The violence spread beyond the park to Market Street, Justice Park, High Street, Water Street, and the Downtown Mall, culminating in the death of 32-year-old paralegal, Heather Heyer, who was killed when James Alex Fields, Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at 4th and Water Streets. Nineteen people were injured when the car drove into the crowd, and at least 15 others were injured that day, including DeAndre Harris, a man beaten in an altercation with “Unite the Right” ralliers. Several hours after the incident that killed Heather Heyer, two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, died in a helicopter accident while monitoring the demonstrations.


0.0613 Gigabytes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

University of Virginia Library staff.

Related Materials

The University of Virginia Collection on the Events in Charlottesville, VA, August 11-13, 2017 (MSS 16386).

UVA Response web archive
January 2024
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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