On August 11 and 12, 2017, ‘Unite the Right’ convened one of the largest and most violent gatherings in the U.S. in decades that brought together white supremacist groups including the alt right, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The gathering’s stated goal was to save the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, because like other places in the South, there is growing controversy about the symbolism and removal of public monuments celebrating leaders of the Confederacy. Hundreds gathered on Friday evening and Saturday to broadcast their viewpoints and ideologies, including chanting, “blood and soil” and “you will not replace us.” They carried torches, homemade shields, weapons and Confederate and Nazi flags. Many brandished Nazi salutes. After continued clashes with their opponents, a car plowed into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring nineteen. A state of emergency was declared by Virginia’s Governor.
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand what white supremacy is, including the alt right, explore historical and current day examples and reflect on their thoughts and feelings about it through a writing activity.