From the New Dominion Project:

Rodney Thomas has lived in Charlottesville all his life. He went to Lane High School and as a freshman, was president of the Young Republican Club in 1958, the year Governor Lindsay Almond closed the school rather than integrate it.

“We got along fine,” he says of African-American students. “I think it was a pure government thing to force down people throats. Blacks had the best school. We loved to go over there [to Burley].”
In his office at Charlottesville Press, he’s listening to “The Schilling Show” when a reporter arrives. A book he’s reading currently– The Hunt for Confederate Gold by Thomas Moore– is on his desk.

The author, Thomas Moore, also of Charlottesville, is chairman of Southern National Congress. You have to check this one out for yourself. It appears to be Uber-nativist as well as other things. SPLC appears to have nothing on this organization.

What’s so unusual about finding someone who feels like Rodney Thomas does? Nothing other than he is running for Rio Magisterial District Supervisor in Albemarle County against the Democratic incumbent, David Slutzky. (No, I am not kidding.)

Now I am not generally known as a race baiter nor do I usually call people racist but I might have to make an exception here. Why? Because I know the very ground these dudes walk on. Mr. Slutzky lives in my old neighborhood in Northfields, north of Charlottesville. These guys are both vying for supervisor of my old home turf. I know all about ‘separate but equal’ Burley High School. It wasn’t equal, much less better. What they had was a much better football team. When I was a kid, half of Charlottesville, black and whites both, headed on over to Burley if there were no home football games at Albemarle or Lane High School. Sometimes they went to Burley even if there were home teams.  People watched football, sometimes greeted each other, then went their separate ways. 

I could hear the Burley band from my bedroom window, even though we lived a couple miles away. “Here come the Burley Bears, Burley Bears, Burley Bears….here come the Burley Bears, marching down the field.” They had a fine football team. I was a coach’s kid so I got dragged out to watch the Bears more than a few times. Superior football team, not so superior school. I can only imagine what the drop-out rates were or the condition and publishing dates of the textbooks. What metric is this guy using to evaluate ‘the best schools?’

The Rio Magisterial District is not particularly provincial. There are nice homes and the general population of the area was fairly well educated when I lived there. It makes you wonder why Mr. Thomas thinks his ‘separate but equal’ kind of thinking might appeal to anyone living in the area. You would think he would just be embarrassed to have that kind of discussion.

Perhaps now that Rodney Thomas is living in the county and not the city where Lane High School and Burley High School used to be, he might find things different, some 50 years after Brown vs Board of Education. 
Lane High School was the city school for white kids. It integrated in 1959 and later became Charlottesville High School. Burley was a regional high school for blacks in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Burley was a newer school. Perhaps that is what Mr. Thomas meant.

At any rate, Mr. Slutzky seems to have a good reputation amongst the good people of Rio District and Albemarle County in general.  Rodney Thomas might think he can ‘carry us back to ole Virginny’ but I am guessing it just isn’t going to fly.   I predict  Mr. Slutzky will win come November, don’t you?

25 Thoughts to “A Racist for Supervisor? Say it isn’t true!”

  1. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Hmmm, slow news day? Feels kinda slow, doesn’t it?

  2. It is great to hear that Mr. Thomas is learning about our Southern Heritage.

    I will never cease to be amazed at the uneven treatment of those who celebrate, or simply attempt to learn about their Southern Heritage, and those from the Negro, Latino or Asian communities who do the exact same thing.

    For example, when someone with Negro heritage celebrates elements attributed to their culture, they are most often lauded for their uplifting attitude and black pride. Yet, have a Southerner carry a book with the word Confederate in the title, or have anything with a Battle Flag on it and the leftists immediately run in circles, crying, “racist!” Neither the former or the later are racists. Both should be lauded for making the effort to learn about their respective culture.

    Those who honor their own culture, are most likely to show respect for the cultural history of others.

    In the Twenty-first Century, where I live, we have room to celebrate all cultural elements that form our society. We honestly invite discussions of all facets of our history, and collectively apply the lessons of the past. We welcome citizens to gather in groups based on common heritage, but encourage everyone to also work together in groups that are based solely on solving common ground issues.

  3. Moon-howler

    Yes, Slow, it was slow as a matter of fact. But then again, we are not a news blog. Surely you can see why I thought this was a topic worthy of exploration.

  4. Moon-howler

    J. Tyler Ballance, obviously you did not read the post. Heritage is not what its about. If that’s what you think, you are picking on the wrong girl here. I have not one problem with any of the Confederate flags, as long as they are used on private property and honor heritage rather than promoting hate, which is so often the case. I have not one problem with people joining various confederate organizations whose objective is to preserve heritage. I am eligible myself to join. I also have a fine picture of Robert E. Lee that I am very fond of. I do not hide it.

    Had you read the post, would know my criticism of Mr. Thomas goes far beyond heritage. Let me spell it out: He is attempting to defend a ‘separate but equal’ philosophy for political gain.

    As for the Southern National Congress, in a general skimming, I saw a few things that made me raise an eyebrow. How about you filling us in on this organization. Perhaps I have misunderstood their intent.

    As for your use of the word “Negro,” I question how firmly you “live” in the twenty first century. It sounds like you live next door to my friend out west who still says ‘colored people.’

    Just setting the record straight here.

  5. An Ordinary Joe

    I must really be missing something. I read the article that the New Dominion project quoted and I don’t see where there is anything racist in what the man said. He was a Young Republican when the democratic governor closed his school instead of integrating it. then he says, “we got along fine” when he was speaking of his relationship to African-Americans. Remember, that it was the southern democratic party (not the republican party) in those days that dominated the south and barred integration.

    Also, in doing research about James Lindsay Almond, Jr., it appeared that he was one of the first governors to recognize that fighting integration was futile so I am not sure what the author of the opinion piece is talking about. Gov. Almond, as a lawyer, did argue against desegregation in the case that was joined with Brown v Board of Education but it seems as a governor he had did not believe in segregation. I assume from that it was his job to argue the state’s position at the time even if he himself did not agree. Happens all of the time.

    So why the attachment of racism to this candidate. Is it because he was reading a book? I have often read books from people that I disagree with as I am trying to understand the other point of view even if I don’t agree. History books especially are full of conjecture and it is important to read people who have a different viewpoints.

    So, please enlighten me if there is something I am missing. Not a criticism of the thread by the way, I am just feeling prople dense right now about connecting the dots.

  6. An Ordinary Joe

    why am I in moderation?

  7. Moon-howler

    Joe, I don’t know why you landed in moderation. I expect it was some word used unintentionally that was a trigger. I do that occassionally also. Thanks for alerting me.

  8. Moon-howler

    Joe, maybe it is a generational thing. I hardly know where to start. No, I am not implying the guy is a racist because of what he is reading.

    He is speaking from the segregationist point of view. 50 years ago, I can forgive his rhetoric. He obviously is using this same rhetoric as a political message today. I think it is unacceptable.

    Personally, I don’t care if that is what he thinks. I do care if he runs with that political message and I will call him on it.

    Now on to Democrat/Republican. You can’t apply those labels to those people 50 years ago. They were all Democrats then. Around the time of Barry Goldwater, those dixie Dems became Republicans. It really isn’t about party.

    I am not even saying those people were bad people 50 years ago. Much of their blood flows through my veins, if you get my drift. However, much has changed and the Virginia thinking that was every bit as divisive and contentious as the immigration issue today really doesn’t have a part in modern society. The days of Massive Resistance are long gone and part of our past.

    and another:

    Listen to D. Barry Marshall and Harry Michael. It gives you the real flavor of what went on during those times in Charlottesville.

    Scroll down> Mr. Marshall is still living.

  9. Moon-howler

    Apology from the Richmond Times Dispatch for its support of Massive Resistance.

    July 2009

  10. Moon-howler

    To Poor Richard, wherever you are. I think Prince William County is being maligned and need you to check it out. Schools were never closed here because of massive resistance were they? I think wiki has erred and they should have said Prince Edwards.

    Will you look please:

    section: 1958-59 massive resistance vs. the courts paragraph 2.

    Thank you. MH

  11. An Ordinary Joe

    Moon Howler, I am probably older than you are, by the way. Beside that, I still am missing this message that you are talking about. I have a feeling that you may know something that I don’t.

    “We got along fine,” he says of African-American students. “I think it was a pure government thing to force down people throats” sounds like “we didn’t need government to have us get along.”

    So at the risk of wearing out patience, I cannot get into my thick skull about where the comment was racist? Sorry.

  12. An Ordinary Joe

    I figured if I had asked the question about moderation, someone would look in the queue for me. Thanks

  13. Moon-howler

    Always let me know if you get stuck. It happens to all of us and I sometimes forget to go look at the moderation que.

    I felt it was a racist remark because blacks and whites didn’t get along together. In fact, kids had almost no contact with each other. Additionally, the blacks didn’t have a better educational setting. I grew up there for most of my life. I know the rhetoric that was used publically to deny the racial content of the problem. What this guy said is part of it.

    Now, if he said it at the time, in 1958, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it. That is what many of the people said back then. However, 50 years later, why bring up school desegregation as part of your campaign? Does he want to revoke Brown vs. Board of Education?

    He sounds like a separatist to me. Maybe he isn’t. But he sure leaves the general public with that impression.

    How do you interpret what he is saying? It might help me understand what part of this is causing you problems if I knew where you grew up and what the racial situation was as you were growing up.

  14. An Ordinary Joe

    Well, I grew up in downtown DC. Obviously, race relations in the 50’s and 60’s weren’t the greatest there either.

    I guess I just don’t know the context in which he made those statements. I would give him the benefit of the doubt a bit if he was asked a direct question about desegregation in his area in the fifties. You know, something like–“so you were a Young Republican in the 50’s.” “Yes”, what was race relations then, “well we got along well. We thought that the government was just trying to force it down our throats” “it really wasn’t necessary with my group of friends”. That translates when reported to “we got along fine” “it was a government thing to force it down our throats.” As a former journalist (but trained as a journalist, not as an opinion writer as they are today) that is how a negative slant is put on things but dropping the context.

    If you know that he was and is a racist, that is fine but the article is a little different than how it is portrayed by this New Dominion Project. So I am skeptical.

    By the way, I would suggest you may want to look at history a little bit more. The republican party was very strong in the north and during reconstruction, they tried to force the south (dominated by democrats) to accept blacks in voting etc. It wasn’t until the 60’s that the democratic party reinvented itself.

  15. An Ordinary Joe

    After all, Abraham Lincoln was a republican.

  16. Moon-howler

    Joe, I feel like I have just received a sermon.

    We aren’t having a discussion. You are assuming probably more than I am assuming. You are assuming what I know about history, the Civil War and Reconstruction. I don’t recall those topics being under discussion.

    I know enough about what happened in Charlottesville and what the situation was to know that 1. Mr. Thomas not correct 2. 50 plus years later is not the time to bring up these things in the middle of a campaign. I feel his remarks are not in the best interests of race relations.

    You are free to disagree with me. However, do not assume what I know or don’t know about things not mentioned.

  17. An Ordinary Joe

    Sorry if I offended you. You had mentioned in your post to me that I was wrong to bring up the democrat/republican angle. I didn’t agree. You even told me that “Now on to Democrat/Republican. You can’t apply those labels to those people 50 years ago. They were all Democrats then. Around the time of Barry Goldwater, those dixie Dems became Republicans. It really isn’t about party.”

    Sorry if you took it as a lecture. It was an integral part of the article that he was (1) a Young Republican leader and (2) the Governor at the time was a democrat and closed a school rather than integrate it but it was never mentioned that he was a democrat but the republican was clear. It made it sound like he was agreeing with the governor when in fact he probably wasn’t in agreement.

    One does answer questions that are asked. I am glad you are sure that he brought it up on his own when I am not so sure. It sounds like a bit of a setup and that is all I was saying.

    I am not sure where I have gone past a discussion stage in your mind?

    I will go back to reading and not contribute if you would prefer.

  18. Moon-howler

    No, Gov. Almond did not decide to close the schools. The Virginia Delegate Assembly had the massive resistance laws in place. It is my understanding that the governor had no choice. He followed VA law. He was forced to close the schools in 4 localities.

    I would need proof that Mr. Thomas was a young Republican. Not saying he wasn’t, just saying trust but verify.

    I don’t think you can apply political labels here because they generally flip flopped. It is meaningless. Are the labels important to you? You do understand that nearly everyone in Virginia was a Democrat back in those days? They were not like Democrats today.

    Why on earth would a person bring all this up during a political campaign? It makes absolutely no sense to me. In fact, much of this story makes no sense. Thomas is either the least slick politico in Albemarle Co or he has a not so hidden agenda. That is why I and others are poking it with a stick.

  19. Elena

    I was thinking the same thing Moon-Howler regarding JTBallance. Who says “negro” in the 21st century. This guy MUST be pulling our chain!

    I haven’t read the article, I’m just getting caught up with anti after a few busy kid days.

  20. Moon-howler

    If the man was misquoted, it certainly has made its way around the blogosphere. He needs to do some serious damage control. What he has said is very damaging to the reputation.

    Right now I can’t get past the fact he says he lived in Albemarle County his whole life yet he lists City Schools. That makes no sense.

    There’s just a lot missing here, including issues. There are no issues. We are 2 months plus a few days off of an election and the candidate hasn’t listed issues?

  21. JustinT

    Hey, at least it’s not Prince William. That’s what I say most times I see something racist in the news.

  22. An Ordinary Joe

    My last post on this issue. If you haven’t read the article that led to the blog quoted above, maybe one should

  23. Moon-howler

    Yes. I had read it but thanks for providing the link for others.

    If he has been misquoted, he needs to do some damage control and issue a statement. Any statement that appears to suggest that integrating Charlottesville schools was a bad idea, 50 some years after the fact, just is not a good campaign message.

    I pointed out how things were not separate but equal and that the high school for blacks was not better than the high school for whites from personal memory. I provided links about massive resistance, which is greatly misunderstood.

    It sounds like Mr. Thomas needs to stick to printing. If you visit his campaign website, you won’t see much on issues.

    Joe, for someone who claims to independent, you sure go to bat for any old Republican who comes down the pike.

  24. An Ordinary Joe

    Actually, I am fiscal conservative but not republican. I don’t believe in many of the social positions of the current leadership of the republican party. Have voted for either party and always split tickets when warranted.

    I did not look to see if this person is a republican or a democrat. I live in PW county so I don’t care what he is. Even if I lived down there, I first listen to what someone says, not his/her party label. Just because he was president of young republicans as a freshman in high school doesn’t mean that he is a republican now.

    As I said when I started that I did not know why the term racist was used so I looked further into the governor mentioned is all. Especially since the reference to his comments seemed really out of place–he wants to run a positive campaign, but oh by the way, he said this out of the blue. I don’t buy it. I found out the governor that was mentioned was a democrat and at the time this person was with the young republican, thus they probably did not see eye to eye. Whether he closed the school or not or whether this person was with the young republicans is all in the quote you provided above. So I asked why you thought he was racist since it didn’t seem to fit.

    Not to sound nasty, but since you wanted to call me out for whatever reason you may have, seems that you also claim to be independent. The threads that you start seem to not be very independent either.

    I had mentioned that the other was my last post on this issue, but I was a bit put-off by your last comment so I had to reply again.

  25. Moon-howler

    I am an independent also. However, if have found it increasingly difficult to vote for Republicans in the past decade or 2. I simply cannot do it because of the social issues.

    First of, I never concluded that Thomas is a racist. Only he knows that. Granted, I left the door wide open on the question, however.

    I think part of our problem over this one is the unique situation that arose from the 4 localities that closed schools because of Massive Resistance. I certainly didn’t understand it or know much about it at the time. I have since gone back and done research, talked to people involved in decision-making etc. Without going in to detail, my life was very much impacted by it all.

    As for Mr. Thomas being a young Republican in 1958. In those days, Republicans in Virginia were more socially liberal than Democrats. I am not sure why 50 years later Mr. Thomas would even bring up the school closings, much less conclude that:

    “We got along fine,” he says of African-American students. “I think it was a pure government thing to force down people throats. Blacks had the best school. We loved to go over there [to Burley].”

    1. Most black students and white students didn’t mingle. They did not go to the same schools nor live in the same neighborhoods.

    2. He feels that court ordered desegregation was an example of govt. shoving something down people’s throats. (many people in Ch-ville felt that way)

    3. He feels that the black kids had the better school. I have said why they did not. (limited bus transportation, old textbooks, high drop out rate, regional school-hours and hours of transportation to attend school just to name a few)

    4. “They” loved to go over there. White students didn’t just ‘go over there,’ especially from Belmont. People attended football games on Friday nights. White people didn’t just go over there to hang out and the black students didn’t go over to Lane and hang out either.

    Mr. Thomas is romancing the stone here. Conditions he described didn’t exist and he doesn’t sound like a Charlottesville Republican 50 years ago. And yes, I am saying he is reinventing history.

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