For immediate release—June 12, 2017
Contact: Keven Walker/SVBF (540-740-4545)
National Historic District Condemns Ku Klux Klan Plans to Rally in Charlottesville
NEW MARKET, Virginia — The Shenandoah Valley Battlefield National Historic District (managed by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, or SVBF) strongly condemns the Ku Klux Klan’s plans to hold a rally in Charlottesville on July 8 to protest the potential removal of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The issues surrounding the potential removal of the statue are complex and sensitive, and best served by substantive, respectful discussion. Nothing could be more counterproductive than the attempt by the Ku Klux Klan – an organization founded on and renowned for bigotry, hatred, and intolerance – to involve itself in the issue, and to attempt to co-opt the situation to promote their own hateful, racist beliefs. The involvement by the Ku Klux Klan serves no purpose, and only dishonors the memories of the Americans who lived through the Civil War era. The use of any American symbols by the KKK is an abomination.
Charlottesville is outside of the boundaries of the SVBF’s National Historic District, but as one of the largest battlefield preservation organizations in the nation – and with this issues surrounding the removal of monuments creeping closer to the District – the SVBF feels compelled to express its outrage at the Klan’s plans. The SVBF strongly encourages other preservation organizations to take a stand against both racism and the removal of these monuments.
The SVBF has been extremely concerned about the recent removals of historic monuments. The SVBF does not support the wholesale eradication or removal of plaques, statues, monuments, place names, and other public honors associated with the history and heritage of the United States. Monuments are, and always have been, important parts of commemorating, memorializing, and telling the story of the Americans – Union and Confederate soldiers, free and enslaved civilians – who lived through the tumultuous Civil War era.
“As an organization established to protect and promote our nation’s Civil War history, we do not support the recent removal of Civil War-related monuments across the nation,” said Keven Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the National Historic District. “But there is no place in this discussion for the KKK and their fearmongering. And no place for anyone else who wants to spread hate and promote division.”
About the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District
The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District is an 8-county district that was established by Act of Congress in 1996 to preserve, protect and interpret the Civil War battlefields and related sites throughout the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The District is managed by the non-profit Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Since its creation, the SVBF has facilitated the preservation of over 8,000 acres of battlefield land and manages almost 5,000 of those acres. In addition to land acquisition and preservation, the foundation has opened hundreds of acres to the public as battlefield parks; established trail systems; created a network of interpretive signage; opened visitor centers and a museum; and provided interpretive, education, and tourism related programs that benefit both our region and our national constituency. The SVBF’s mission is to be recognized as the most extensively protected, well-preserved, and accurately interpreted collection of Civil War sites in the United States, centered in the Shenandoah Valley, and as a place of unmatched scenic beauty where generations can gather to understand, commemorate, and draw meaning from our nation’s heritage.