Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why no monument for Queen Charlotte in Charlottesville?

Hidden Blaque Beauty: The Queen Charlotte SophiaPhoto credit

Why is there no monument in Charlottesville, Virginia for the queen the town is named after? No painting. No statue. No historical marker.

An apparent British loyalist raises this question in a letter to the editor in today’s Daily Progress. The letter is speculation based on assumptions, not research.

Maybe people don’t want to memorialize scandal or the circumstances of the town’s creation. But it was only after a Google search that I learned the more likely reason:

Queen Charlotte was black.

Wikipedia has the scoop on Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived 1744-1818. She married evil King George III in 1761.

“At the age of 17, Charlotte was not thought conventionally pretty; she had a wide nose and mouth, and dark hair. Nevertheless, she was selected as the bride of the young King George, although she was not his first choice. He had already flirted with several young women considered unsuitable by his mother…”

On December 23, 1762, the General Assembly approved the town charter and moved the county seat from Scottsville. Thomas Jefferson was 19 years old. (Albemarle: Jefferson's County, 1727-1976, John Hammond Moore, Albemarle County Historical Society.)

The most likely reason for the new town named after the new queen was to influence the Crown to favor Albemarle in the next redistricting. At the time the British government would subdivide counties as population and settlements grew. Albemarle was created in 1744 but lost territory in the 1761 redistricting.

When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the closest towns, Milton and Shadwell, were much bigger than Charlottesville. The only charge Jefferson made against the queen was standing idly by while atrocities were committed in America.

Queen Charlotte has her own MySpace page.

Google Queen Charlotte Sophia

Queen Charlotte deserves attention

Eugene ‘Jeep’ Meyung
Published: September 30, 2009

There is irony that the closest town to the residence of the author of the Declaration of Independence was named after George III’s wife.

Most cities have some recognition of their namesake such as a painting or a statute, but Charlottesville has none. The woman had 14 children, an accomplishment worthy of recognition in itself and, for a royal, was a good mother. A statue on the Downtown Mall would be appropriate.

Paying for this would be an act of atonement for the Monticello Foundation, since a majority of the accusations Mr. Jefferson made in the Declaration against her husband are without foundation.

Eugene ‘Jeep’ Meyung
Albemarle County

Monday, September 21, 2009

Long Branch, NJ drops eminent domain scheme

Charlottesville, Va.—The case reported in Parade Magazine on Aug. 6, 2006 reached as many as 78 million readers. Long Branch, NJ began the process in 1996 to force out about 35 oceanfront homes to make way for luxury condos.

“The Long Branch City Council voted 4 to 1 Tuesday [Sep. 15] to accept an agreement in which the city will pay $435,000 in legal fees for the residents and give up its eminent domain claims for the neighborhood” (“Agreement reached to end NJ eminent domain dispute”, Sep. 16, 2009, Associated Press).

New Jersey is not one of the 43 states that have reformed eminent domain since the June 23, 2005, Susette Kelo v. New London, CT Supreme Court ruling. New Jersey is not one of the four states where the state supreme court has overruled the US Supreme Court on this issue.

A pending bill in New Jersey's Senate would revise existing law to "remove the possibility of property owners losing their homes simply because a 'better' use could be envisioned by a local government" (“Long Branch victory heats up eminent domain debate" by David Porter, Associated Press, Sep. 21, 2009 ).

Eminent domain spotlight on Long Branch, NJ, Aug. 10, 2006