The Kudzu Project celebrated the first day of 2018 with two "flash installations" of knitted kudzu on Confederate monuments in front of courthouses in Lovingston and Amherst, Virginia. Photographs of the installations were added to The Kudzu Project's website, expanding the Rogues Gallery of kudzu-draped Confederate statues and memorials.
A lone strand of knitted kudzu was left behind at each location, symbolizing growing awareness of the role Confederate memorials play in perpetuating false narratives about the Civil War and white supremacy.
The statue of a Confederate soldier was erected at the Nelson Country Courthouse in 1965, ostensibly to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. An inscription on the monument reads “ In memory of the heroic Confederate Soldiers of Nelson County who served in the War Between the States, 1861 – 1865. ‘Love makes memory eternal.’" Interestingly, 1965 was also the year Nelson County began desegregating its schools following the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
At Amherst County Courthouse, an obelisk bears a plaque reading, “To the memory of the Sons of Amherst County, who from 1861 to 1865 upheld in arms the cause of Virginia and the South, who fell in battle or died from wounds, and survivors of the war, who as long as they lived, were ever proud that they had done their part in the noble cause.” The base is engraved with the words, "Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865." This monument was erected in 1922, during the Jim Crow era, by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. More than any other group, the UDC was responsible for disseminating revisionist history about the Civil War, valorizing the South through the "Lost Cause" narrative.
The presence of Confederate monuments at courthouses aligns the justice system with the values of the Confederacy, thereby denying fair treatment for all. With more than 50 Confederate monuments located at courthouses throughout Virginia, 2018 promises to be a busy year for The Kudzu Project!