By Jon Jeffryes
A tragedy occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, as a white nationalist terrorist drove through a group of protestors convened to counter-protest a scheduled rally of white nationalists who were protesting the removal of war memorials honoring the Confederate side of the Civil War.
The New York Times has published a guide to the event and its aftermath.
This post will help you navigate the flow of information, provide you with links to publicly available information, and point you to University of Minnesota Libraries resources to guide your understanding of the events.
As information specialists and human beings, librarians believe that racism and bigotry are inherently wrong and cannot be condoned. As the American Library Association posted earlier this week:
“No matter the venue or the circumstance, we condemn any form of intimidation or discrimination based on culture, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Our differences should be celebrated, and mutual respect and understanding should serve as the norms within our society.”
Freely available resources on Charlottesville
As with most issues, the most direct way to get a handle on events is to seek out primary resources. For a story like the events in Charlottesville, a primary resource would be the original reporting of reputable news sources and transcripts of speeches or original tweets and social media posts from those involved. Many news sites allow you to look at a number of articles for free on the internet.
- The New York Times has collected and published responses to the events and President Trump’s public response.
- NPR published “Resources For Educators To Use In The Wake Of Charlottesville”
- The Graduate Student Coalition for Liberation at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville created “The Charlottesville Syllabus” to give history and context specific to the protests
- Many news sources have published transcripts of Donald Trump’s speeches in response to the tragedy:
- Donald Trump on Saturday speaking about the events in Charlottesville
- Donald Trump on Monday speaking against racism and white supremacists
- Donald Trump on Tuesday speaking in defense of some of the white supremacist marchers
Non-profit organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have also produced infographics to help contextualize the events such as their timeline of confederate war memorials.
They have also created a map of all the confederate war memorials across America.
Library resources on hate groups and racism
Although the events on Saturday haven’t yet had time to be included into the scholarly literature, the Libraries has a number of resources to understand the history of hate groups, the dividing line between hate speech and free speech, and the racial inequality woven throughout America’s history.
Searching the library catalog will bring back a number of results on any of these topics — here are a few examples:
- Legacy of hate : a short history of ethnic, religious, and racial prejudice in America by Philip Perlmutter
- The unacceptable by John Potts and John Scannell
- Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Additional resources (added 08/30/17)
- CQ Press Library — (subscription source) on Far Right Extremism
- Points of View Reference Center (Ebsco) — link to news sources, including radio / tv transcripts.
- Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context — links to news and commentary.
- CRS Reports in Proquest Congressional — some of these may be openly available.
The Libraries also subscribes to numerous databases that provide more specific examinations of these underlying issues. With a topic this broad and interdisciplinary, a good starting point would be general databases such as:
- Academic Search Premier (available to all Minnesotans via Electronic Library of Minnesota),
- Scopus, or
- Web of Science.
If you want to look at the issue from a specific disciplinary lens any of our subject librarians can help guide you to resources based on subject area or researchers can consult our subject guides to library resources.
In engaging with resources you might encounter on the web or social media it is important to recall the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy that reminds researchers that “Authority Is Constructed and Contextual” when engaging with articles and posts to ensure that sources are reputable and reliable and to decipher potential agendas or preferences.