The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search

Election do-over raises hackles

South Boston reverses move to November voting; Wyatt-Younger wins bid for vice mayor

South Boston sets aside cigarette tax decision for 90 days

Four more metal detectors deployed at HCHS, HCMS


Dixie Boys 2-0 in state action





Violence close to home – and heart

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
The deadly vehicle attack in Charlottesville Saturday; right, the Robert E. Lee monument at Emancipation Park. (Photos from Wikipedia) / August 14, 2017

The violence and hate that unfolded in Charlottesville this weekend has left a deep emotional mark on Halifax County, among residents who have close ties to the University of Virginia, and those who do not.

“This is not an accurate representation of the love in the community that I’ve felt in the past four years I’ve lived there,” said Meg Bane, a recent U.Va. graduate who is living in Charlottesville this year prior to entering graduate school. She and her sister Kate, also a U.Va. alumna, were visiting their parents back home in Halifax this weekend when white supremacist violence erupted in their adopted college hometown. “I don’t think that going back, I’m afraid of anything,” said Meg.

“They’re not from Charlottesville, they’re coming in from all over and representing something that Charlottesville does not stand for,” she said. Of the potential for future violence, “I think there’s hope that won’t happen again — but there’s also shock that people are trying to get over.”

That feeling extends well beyond Charlottesville.

The stunning images from the weekend — of white supremacist marchers swinging clubs and torches on a Friday night foray across the U.Va. campus, followed Saturday by an aborted protest, violent clashes between protestors and counter-protestors, and the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman after being struck by a car driven by an alleged neo-Nazi — were sights that most Virginians, perhaps especially members of the extended U.Va. community, never expected to see.

County supervisor William Bryant Claiborne is a 1978 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, where he studied alongside classmates who included Thurgood Marshall Jr. and Robert Kennedy Jr. “It was an honor to be there,” said Claiborne. But watching the mayhem in the past few days, he said, “it seems like we’re going backwards instead of forward.

“When I was in Charlottesville, at U.Va., I never would have thought something like this would happen.”

Claiborne, who attended segregated schools in Halifax County until reaching high school — he is a 1973 graduate of Halifax County Senior High — said the hatred on display would have been alien to him even in the days of enforced segregation in Virginia.

“I wouldn’t have thought something like that would have happened 40 year ago,” he said.

Doug Bowman, another local U.Va. alumnus — and until 2015, a member of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, alongside Claiborne — called the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville “simply despicable and against our Christian motto of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.”

White nationalists who go by the description of “alt-right” were asking for trouble, Bowman said, when they marched up to the iconic Rotunda Friday night bearing torches and surrounding a small group of counter-protestors in a tense scene.

“There was no justification for it and actions like this throw us back to the days of [the denial of] civil rights,” he said.

The Halifax office of the Virginia State Police was ensnared by the turmoil of the weekend. Nearly a dozen Troopers who normally patrol Halifax and Charlotte counties were assigned this weekend to keep the peace in Charlottesville. It proved to be a nearly impossible task.

Meg Bane said she knew of one friend in Charlottesville who was in the vicinity of the town mall where a speeding Dodge Challenger plowed into a crowd, killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others. The man identified as the driver of the vehicle, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., has been charged by police with second degree murder.

Her friend escaped harm, and most in her circle avoided the violence that erupted across the city Saturday, but come Sunday they were eager to head back downtown.

Bane said she got a message from her boss at the physical therapy center where she works, urging people to “go get lunch downtown and support our small businesses. Let’s show them what a loving community is all about.

“They were hit hard [Saturday],” said Bane of the effect of the violence on the Charlottesville business community.

A current U.Va. student, who asked not to be identified for fear of inciting backlash on social media, expressed disgust that the protestors were allowed to congregate at the city’s Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park, where a Robert E. Lee statute has served as the flashpoint in the conflict.

Saying “I can’t even describe to you how I’m feeling, I’m just disgusted,” the student blamed U.Va. and the City of Charlottesville for allowing Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally to take place at Emancipation Park — although Charlottesville fought the choice of protestor sites, relenting only after federal judge granted the request by alt-right organizer Jason Kessler to stage the event in front of the Lee statue.

“Hordes of us emailed the mayor and city council asking them to revoke the permit,” the student said.

The fate of the Lee monument hangs on a court’s decision on Charlottesville’s effort to remove the statue. Alt-right protests sprung up in Charlottesville soon after Council passed the motion on a 3-2 vote, but the Lee statue remains, pending resolution of the legal battle.

Claiborne said that while he isn’t personally bothered by Confederate statues, other members of the African-American community are. As such, he supports the city’s decision to take the statue down.

“I know it’s part of history, but sometimes you’ve got to let history be in the past,” he said. “By what City Council did, they were saying we’ll recognize history, but we’ve got to move forward.”

Removing the Lee monument “represents the idea that we’re going to free people from the past, so they don’t have to [think] about it every time they go to the park,” Claiborne said. That history, of the South going to war to preserve slavery, is deeply troubling to blacks and many others, he noted.

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s the past. You can’t change history, but you can live for the future, and try to correct the things that happened in the past.

“[This weekend] should be reminder to us that we still have people from all sectors of life who want to live in the past,” Claiborne said.

Bane added “there’s a sense of division” in the country, “and yesterday was a representation of that — the hatred you see today. “It’s horrible, absolutely horrible, what’s happening in the country.”

She’s fervently hoping that Charlottesville doesn’t become a place where those divisions will continue to play out.

“It’s a great place, with a small town feel, and U.Va was great to us,” said Bane of herself and her sister. “We love it.”

Tell-a-Friend | Submit a Comment



The blame lies with Charlottesville City council, the mayor and Wes Bellamy! If you have not read the racist tweets from council member bellamy then you need to do so. He was fired from his job as a teacher, and asked to resign from his DOE appointed position. If they had not tired to remove the statues, none of this would have happened. Put the blame where it belongs on the liberal democrats running this city!


Why would Charlottesville issue protest permits to two opposing groups at the same time on the same day in the same place?


Cville did not issue to permits. One was issued to the group supporting the statues, then the Nazi crap showed up. Then the BLM an Atifa people showed up to protest the people supporting the statues. I truly believe that Cville city council wanted this to help them to try an get state law changed that protects Lee's statue and Lee park. You won't hear the truth in the media.



After you all finish tearing down all those confederate statues don't forget to raze UVA. The school's founder Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. While the dozer engines are still warm move on over to Monticello the slave plantation. Tear up the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and at least part of the Bill of Rights you enjoy. All written by slave owners. Star Spangled Banner has got to go too. Francis Scott Key was a slave holding lawyer from Maryland. Just keep one thing in mind. Once you lay claim to the U.S. Constitution you play a whole new game.


Well hello Mr Vice Mayor of Charlottesville.
Very cosmopolitan.


Whether you support or disagree with the Alt Right, they have a Constitutionally protected right to hold peaceful assemblies. Instead McClinton deployed his own personal storm troopers aka the VSP to deny these folks their Constitutionally guaranteed rights. Why does the Antifa and BLM get a blank check to assault people and commit criminal acts. It's way past time for decent people to stand up to these thugs.


All of you can fuss and fight over whose right or wrong but until the laws are changed in Richmond, this state will continue to regress back to the Jim Crow era.


I know George Soros funds these communist Marxist groups on the left.
Some of these alt left protesters were throwing balloons and bottles filled with urine and feces.
My question is, do the poop packers get paid extra? And does OSHA inspect that stuff for communicable disease?



Got to love this Harvard University psychiatrist's take on the situation. "Each is a spoiled, effete intellectual who has never served our country other than reaching into the bowels of local and national politics in order to promote their narcissism."


Jason Kessler is a communist tool along with the idiot John McCain. First song bird is taking pictures with ISIS and now its Nazis. Never a shortage of pawns in this country thanks to corrupt propagandists called news media.‘unite-right’-organizer-jason-kessler-was-occupy-movement-obama-supporter-8-m

Classified Advertising

Buy and sell items in News & Record classifieds.