The Citizen Justice Initiative
The Citizen Justice Initiative at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies is sponsored by the Strategic Investment Fund of the University of Virginia. At its most basic, the Citizen Justice Initiative is a digital storytelling and community engagement effort that seeks to create digital resources on Charlottesville's history with community leaders, existing organizations, and everyday people. Throughout the summer of 2017, UVA undergraduates and local high school students from Charlottesville researched the history surrounding Charlottesville’s Confederate statues to create a StoryMap entitled “The Illusion of Progress: Charlottesville’s Roots in White Supremacy.” The resource builds on extensive work by members of the Charlottesville and University community, who collected sources, made presentations, wrote think pieces, and created syllabi to educate onlookers, activists, and curious citizens about the roots of white supremacy locally and beyond. It also sources past projects on local history to make previous research on Charlottesville, the University, and Virginia relevant to the resurgence white supremacist activity today. Specifically, the Illusion of Progress would not be possible without the work of the "Vinegar Hill Project," "Race and Place" archive, and past research projects created by researchers at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies and the Virginia Center for Digital History. “The Illusion of Progress: Charlottesville’s Roots in White Supremacy” curates and synthesizes key points in this collective research to engage with a hyper-local narrative of white supremacy as a way of understanding regional and national trends.
The Movement in the Archive began as a way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of five pivotal years in the modern Civil Rights movement. Though the project proceeds chronologically from 1963 to 1968, we are interested in how archives can create movement between the main dates, figures, and accomplishments of the movement for civil rights. Comprised of a graduate student manager and undergraduate research assistants, the research team works closely with the University of Virginia's Special Collections Library to develop a digital archive. As such, many of the stories seek to illuminate how Virginia-specific developments inform, complicate, or uphold national narratives. Digitized materials include items from the papers of Julian Bond and topical holdings such as papers related to Massive Resistance to desegregation in Virginia.