12/16 – Liberty & Slavery; City Power is People Power

Ellen DanielsAOS

Price Thomas, Communications for James Madison’s Montpelier, “The Mere Distinction of Colour” and Race;
Richard Schragger, Professor of Law at UVA on the limitations on local governments, why it’s set up that way, what’s at stake, and what we can do about it.


Price Thomas,is Director of Marketing & Communications at James Madison’s Montpelier. He was instrumental in the launch of Montpelier’s multimillion dollar, and literally groundbreaking exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” and in pioneering new education initiatives with local county schools.

We discussed the exhibition which builds on 17 years of archaeological excavation, oral history and exploration of the culture of the enslaved community. We talked about how Montpelier worked closely with the Black community and descendants of the slaves who worked and suffered on Madison’s plantation. A native of Charlottesville, we’ll also spoke with Price about his life as a Black man growing up here, how that shaped him, and his views on social justice today by looking to the past.


Richard Schragger is the Perre Bowen Professor of Law; and the Joseph C. Carter, Jr. Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

We discussed Schragger’s expertise at the intersection of constitutional and local government law, federalism, urban policy and the constitutional and economic status of cities. We focused on the limitations on local governments, why it’s set up that way, what’s at stake, and what we can do about it. We also touched on law and religion, local recognition of same-sex marriage, and the history of the anti-chain store movement. Schragger has published in the Harvard, Yale, Virginia, and Chicago law reviews, among others. His book is  “City Power: Urban Governance in a Global Age.”


The Mere Distinction of Colour” Exhibition at Montpelier
Richard C. Schragger
City Power: Urban Governance in a Global Age” (2016 Oxford University Press)
(Pictured above l to r:  Richard Schragger, Price Thomas)

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