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Divided States (1): Virginia

زمان مطالعه: 5 دقیقه

During the 1620s and 1635s, great economic pressure prevailed in England. Many people became unemployed. The Industrial Revolution had brought about a textile nascent industry that needed to produce as much wool and yarn as it could to spin the wheels of the industry.

Landowners closed farms and fired villagers to promote sheep breeding. The expansion of the colonies was a window for this large population to find better conditions.

Political reasons have greatly influenced the migration of people to the United States. In the 1630s, Charles I’s Optional Act gave immigrants a great incentive to move to a new world.

British landowners who turning their farmland into pastures in the 17th century and had displaced thousands of peasants , formed colonies on the new continent, along with large groups of dangerous prisoners and petty poor landowners and debtors known as the “White Slaves,” that they sent to America for living there.

In this way, both the British colonial government got rid of these “intruders” and new lands and facilities were created for the British aristocracy on the pristine continent of the United States.

The first English town in North America and the first permanent immigrant in 1607, Jamestown was founded in what is now Virginia. The first British colony in the United States was Jamestown.

Virginia has been known by the pseudonyms “Ancient Realm” and “Mother of the Presidents” because it was the first and oldest territory of the United Kingdom and the birthplace of most American presidents. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe were among the presidents that had risen from the state. Presidents who were all famous and powerful slaveholders. With such a history, slavery in this state has a long and strong history. Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia. It was one of the largest slave trade centers in the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. Richmond was such a thriving market for black slave traders that most blacks living in the United States today are said to have ancestors who were sold in Richmond. During the slave trade peak the half-square-kilometer area of Shockoe Bottom has put between 40 and 50 auction centers, between 6 and 8 slave prisons, dozens of slave trade offices, and several slavery-related industries in itself. However, much of this historic area has now been demolished and replaced by parking lots, roads and highways.

Of course, Richmond is not only known for its history of slavery, but it was also the capital of the “American Confederate States” in the American Civil War. Despite the defeat of the southern states in the civil war, Richmond still admires and honors the leaders of the allied states during the war, and even supports the allied states for insisting on continued slavery to the point of secession and separation from the northern states, but it seems that he deliberately tries to forget Shockoe Bottom and its history of slavery.

Efforts to reconstruct the history of Shockoe Bottom began in the early 1990s and have been pursued more seriously since 2004, but city officials, in turn, have repeatedly countered these efforts. The cemetery of the blacks, where tens and perhaps hundreds of blacks are buried, was asphalted just a few years ago and used as a commercial parking lot. What mostly causes the anger of local activists was the last usage of the parking lot was for the “University of Virginia Joint Venture”, a government agency. After about a decade of popular protests, the parking lot was demolished in 2011 and replaced by a small memorial park for the Black Cemetery. However, city officials have not yet intervened.

After the parking lot on the Black Cemetery was demolished, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, along with a public-private group called Revitalize Arroyo, set out to build a sports, leisure and residential complex in the area. The project was halted in 2014 by local activists, but the future of Shockoe Bottom is still vague.

The crimes and tyranny committed against blacks in the state led to training the generations whose deadly violence was part of their daily routine. News of armed attacks and massacres of ordinary people in this state became the first headlines in the world repeatedly.

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial was erected in 2008 to commemorate the protests which led to school desegregation.

An armed attack on a student at the University of Virginia and killing 32 people and wounding 17 others in retaliation because of revenge on rich sausages in 2007 and the violent protests of far right and racist groups in the state of Virginia in 2017 that killed three people and 35 injured; there are small examples of this violence.

Despite such a history, hearing the news these days makes Virginia strange and thought-provoking. Throwing and setting fire to the statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond is a surprise. The city where the first Columbus statue was erected in 1937 is now being demolished because it is a symbol of racism and genocide.

With the overthrow of the statue of Jefferson Davis, President of the United States of America, a supporter of slavery in American history announces a volcano in this city that has been extinguished for centuries in Virginia and today, when its flames are flowing, no force or power can turn it off.

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