In 2007, Virginia’s General Assembly issued a statement of “profound regret” for the Commonwealth’s treatment of African Americans and Native Americans. That statement called for citizens to “embrace, celebrate, and retell” their history and called upon the people of the Commonwealth to “express acknowledgment and thanksgiving” for their contributions. A number of individuals at the University of Virginia have determined to follow that formal statement with a collective response to the legacy of slavery, segregation and discrimination in the history of the University of Virginia.
The UCARE project began in Fall of 2007 with the Institute and the Office of African American Affairs and the Carter G. Woodson Institute compiling a database of individuals and organizations that would be involved in this effort. This database will also identify relevant activities, events, curriculum and research ongoing at the University of Virginia.
In November 2013, UCARE organized a statewide conference. Virginia Universities and Race History Conference brought together faculty, students, administrators, staff and community members for dialogue on slavery, its aftermath and its persistent influence on the present at Virginia’s colleges and universities. The Keynote speaker was Dr. Craig Wilder. The attendees explored varying traditions and experiences that have to do with race and the myriad ways slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation affect the present. Read more about the conference here: http://virginiaslaveryconference.wordpress.com/.
We expect that this will lead to a systematic, coordinated effort involving University students, administration and faculty and staff, alumni, and community members in defining how this University community can complete the transition from any continuing legacy of slavery and segregation to a community of shared purpose. This examination would not duplicate, but instead build upon the initiatives and resources already in place. Its goal is to transition to a community in which recognition and understanding of all of our past, the bad and the good, allows us develop authentic relationships based upon integrity, trust, accomplishment and shared purpose. We will understand our history but our future will no longer be defined by that history. The project is funded with a generous grant from the Andrus Family Fund. For further information, go to http://ucareva.org