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Reference to Slavery in UVa Logo Is Edited Out

Sword handles undergo edit to remove reference to walls that hid slaves
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2020 1:00 PM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2020 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The University of Virginia has altered its new athletics logo, revealed less than two months ago, over references to the school's history of slavery. The longstanding logo features a large "V" over crossed sabres, and in that April update, new detailing that was meant to "mimic the design of the serpentine walls" found on campus was added to the previously straight sword handles, per NPR. But as the Cavalier Daily pointed out days after the logo's release, those serpentine walls were designed by university founder Thomas Jefferson in the 1820s to keep slaves and their living quarters out of public eyesight. The original walls were removed in the 1950s and replaced with shorter ones, per USA Today.

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The Cavalier Daily spoke with a student who found it "repugnant that people stood by and approved of using a symbol of division as part of the 'We Cavaliers' campaign." Athletics Director Carla Williams announced Monday that the curves on the blade handles would be removed from the primary logo and a secondary one featuring the swords and a shield. Williams said that prior to the logo's April 24 unveiling she was "not ... aware of the historical perspective indicating the original eight-foot-high walls were constructed to mask the institution of slavery." "There was no intent to cause harm, but we did, and for that I apologize," she said. The handles on the updated logo are straight. (Read more University of Virginia stories.)

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