Petition to name the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Charlottesville

The Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Charlottesville lies within the boundaries of what was known as "Vinegar HIll." Vinegar Hill was a majority African American community with businesses, churches, and homes, that was destroyed in the name of urban renewal in the 1960's. Available federal funds, black disenfranchisement, and officials from outside the community whose hubris led them to believe they knew what was best for the community led to the destruction of a neighborhood that was the core of black Charlottesville.

With the City Council approving a new Vinegar Hill Park in December 2016 adjacent to the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, and other efforts to bring wider recognition of Charlottesville's racial history, it is an appropriate time to name that building, the most prominent public structure in Vinegar Hill, after someone who stood up for the rights of that community. Doing so would play a small part in addressing the harm done to this African American community and helping ensure that anyone entering this building knows that its work is dedicated to providing justice for all. We therefore urge our elected officials to consult the remaining living members of Vinegar Hill who once called this place their home as well as local neighborhood associations to select an appropriate name to honor.

Appropriate nominees may include, but not be limited to:
- Eugene Williams, fair housing advocate and civil rights leader whose lawsuit helped integrate Charlottesville's school system;
- Teresa Jackson Walker Price, long-time community leader and one of the catalysts for saving Jefferson School;
- Justice Thurgood Marshall, who visited and supported local residents fighting for their civil rights, who won the case in this Courthouse's predecessor admitting Gregory Swanson as the first African American student at UVA, and whose work helped end legal segregation in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the United States.

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