The story of Charlottesville told in debris

The story of Charlottesville told in debris

Bob Kiefer doesn't know Mai Shurtleff but he felt compelled to console her as she wept on the street where a woman died in Charolettesville.

The story of Charlottesville told in debris

Instruction cards on how to wear a gas mask were among the debris left in the streets of Charlottesville, Va., on Sunday.

There were the messages of hate. Several signs left to soak up the morning dew derided Wes Bellamy, a black Charlottesville city councilman, in the most derogatory of racial terms. Not far from the Lee statue, an Alabama publication whose website is loaded with racist messages proclaimed, "The spirit of the Southern people is alive and well, dear friends..."

Anti-Jewish suspicions, often spoken of in white nationalist circles, were evident in a sign proclaiming "THE (JE)WISH MEDIA IS GOING DOWN." Another sign proclaimed, "WE SUPPORT PRESIDENT TRUMP."

More: Swastika use is on the rise, but among those who understand it least

More: 'Unite the Right' leader blames Charlottesville officials for violence

Outside the park, more evidence of the disturbances remained. Dried splotches of bright colors — pink, orange and neon blue — stained the pavement. At times Saturday, counter protesters lobbed vessels of paint at approaching white nationalists, many of whom ended the day wearing Rorschach-style blots on their faces and clothing.

Out here, on the street, counterprotesters Saturday attempted to set up blockades to prevent the white nationalists from approaching the park, leading to violent collisions. Some the counterprotesters wielded clubs and pummeled people on the ground with their boots. When they allowed the white nationalists to march by unmolested, the counterprotesters shouted "Kill the Nazis." Full water bottles flew like missiles in both directions, including from the counterprotesters, a hard-to-shorthand collection of groups that include anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations. 

Easily passed over on the street was a page from a Charlottesville publication that asked its readers to answer the question: "What's your biggest concern about the August 12 alt-right rally?" Prominent on the page is one response: "Someone gets killed."

By midmorning, cleanup crews with garbage bags had begun to fan out across Emancipation Park to collect the rubbish. Outside, a street cleaning machine began washing away the paint stains.

The stains Charlottesville leaves on America's memory will take much longer to erase.

Follow Robert King on Twitter: @RbtKing



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