Liberal Arts Blog — Richmond, Virginia — From Thomas Jefferson to Jefferson Davis to Levar Stoney
Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Random Stuff Day
Today’s Topic: Richmond, Virginia — From Thomas Jefferson to Jefferson Davis to Levar Stoney
Last week, Alaska, the last frontier. Today, a city that I am embarrassed to say that I have never been to even though I grew up in DC which is just 92 miles away! This morning I decided that it was high time that I learned a little more about it. Have you been? What was most memorable? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
RICHMOND WAS THE THIRD CAPITAL OF VIRGINIA AFTER JAMESTOWN (1609–1699) AND WILLIAMSBURG (1699–1780)
1. Geography: located on the James River where the coastal plain meets the Piedmont plateau (the “fall line”), about 44 miles west of Williamsburg and 66 miles east of Charlottesville. Many other east coast cities lie on the “Fall line” — DC on the Potomac, Philadelphia on the Schuykill, Trenton on the Delaware.
2. Thomas Jefferson designed the Virginia State Capitol (above) after the Maison Carre, a Roman temple in Nimes, France which was also the inspiration for the Madeleine church in Paris. It is only one of twelve state capitols that lack an external dome. What do you think? Do you feel something is missing? And, on the other hand, don’t the wings (added in 1904) utterly destroy the original look? Would Thomas Jefferson be turning over in his grave? But was there any alternative?
3. It was in Richmond that Patrick Henry delivered his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!” speech in the St. John’s Episcopal Church. It was here that the “Virginia Statute on Religious Freedoms” was passed.
NB: Richmond was burned down during the American Revolution by British troops led by the American turncoat Benedict Arnold.
THE SECOND CONFEDERATE CAPITAL (1861–1865) — AFTER MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA (February to April 1861)
1. When six Confederate states seceded in February 1861, Virginia was not one of them and the capital of the Confederacy was tiny Montgomery, Alabama with a population of about 8,000 and only half of them white. Virginia seceded in April and the capital of the Confederacy was moved to Richmond, at the time the second largest city in the South with a population of 38,000, 60% white, and served by five railroads.
2. “For four years its defense required the bulk of the Army of Norther Virginia and the Confederacy’s best troops and commanders. It became the main target of Union armies, especially in the campaigns of 1862 and 1864–65.”
3. “The Confederate Army began the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. Davis and his cabinet, along with the government archives and Treasury gold, left the city by train that night, as government officials burned documents and departing Confederate troops burned tobacco and other warehouses to deny their contents to the victors.”
NB: “The Union troops eventually stopped the raging fires but about 25% of the city’s buildings were destroyed.” Above is a Currier and Ives print of the “Fall of Richmond.”
THE CURRENT MAYOR, LEVAR STONEY, ORDERED THE REMOVAL OF A DOZEN CONFEDERATE STATUES FROM THE TOWN AFTER THE GEORGE FLOYD MURDER
1. When elected in 2016, Stoney was the youngest mayor in Richmond history at age 35. He received 36% of the vote versus 34% for fellow Democrat Jack Berry, and 21% for independent Joe Morrissey.
2. In 2022 he was re-elected with 38% of the vote versus 26% for Alexsis
Rodgers (D) and 26% for Kimberley Gray (D).
3. “In January 2022, Stoney was elected President of the Democratic Mayors
Alliance.” In that capacity he serves as a member of the Democratic National Committee.
NB: Monument Avenue had five prominent statues of Confederate leaders
(Robert E. Lees, Stonewall Jackson, JEB Stuart, Jefferson Davis, and
Matthew Maury) before they were removed in 2020 and 2022. The only
remaining statue on Monument Ave is one to Arthur Ashe, the African American Richmond native and tennis champion.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Whenever you are wrong, admit it. Whenever you are right, shut up.” - Ogden Nash
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Anything miscellaneous to share? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes? Or, what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? Or what is your favorite holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare?
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.