Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Charlottesville First Amendment Wall - 08/17/08

Wandering through Charlottesville's downtown mall this past Sunday, I happened to come across the First Amendment monument sponsored and erected by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. The monument is near Charlottesville City Hall, the Pavilion, and the Transit Center.

Just for the heck of it, I pulled out my cellphone and snapped a few shots of messages left on the chalkboard section of the monument. (The other section is a podium for public speakers, with the intention that the monument might become Charlottesville's counterpart to Hyde Park Corner.)

What was odd was there was no chalk (nor were there any erasers) anywhere near the slate surfaces of the monument. Consequently, it was hard to know how old (or new) the messages were. That didn't diminish their capacity to amuse.

Most of the images are self-explanatory, but I've added captions for clarification.

"McCain '08: 'Old Enough to Know Better'"

"I Belive in [anarchy symbol]" (sic)

And another angle:

"My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. -- Ronald Reagan"

Another Reagan quotation: "Tear Down This Wall!" plus "Billy Sux"

"Pray for lower beer prices!" and "Life's a Witch and Then U Fly"

Monkeys snuggle under a coconut tree, topped with "Bob Barr '08"

VCU math major Steven Latimer stands next to some untranslated Chinese (or Japanese) characters and the incomplete definition of a derivative (which he later corrected after we found some chalk)

1 comment:

Harry said...

I'm sorry that you didn't find chalk at the First Amendment Monument. I go by every weekday (Monday through Friday) to refresh the supply of chalk. The site really is just so popular that the chalk goes quickly. Just about as soon as I put the chalk down, there's somebody ready to pick it up and add their message.

This evening, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Expression of Free Speech sponsored a program at the chalkboard featuring "James Monroe", who held forth for the better part of an hour discussing his presidency, the Constitution and the state of the U.S. in the early 18th century.

That chalkboard has really become an important local treasure.