June 20, 2022

According to an article in the Federalist, the popular tourist destination of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia (one of the largest living history museums in the world) has apparently learned nothing from a related disastrous decision by Disney’s woke leadership.  The author said, “…it has faithfully depicted the founding culture of America in a meticulously recreated, and often re-enacted, Revolutionary-era capital.  This depiction included America’s undeniably traditional, Western, largely Judeo-Christian roots.  But now Williamsburg has gone woke.  In doing so, its leadership and staff are displaying conspicuous enmity toward the highly reasoned position held by America’s founders — a position at odds with today’s LGBT dogma.” 

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Williamsburg was the original state capitol of Virginia, but the Revolutionary War convinced the government to move the capitol to less militarily vulnerable Richmond.  Left behind were many of the original colonial-era government buildings creating a ghost town and by the 20th century most required serious repairs.  However, thanks to a visionary endowment in 1926 by the John. D. Rockefeller Jr. foundation, a massive preservation effort was started.  Since then, it has been operated by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a not-for-profit, educational institution.  I went there as a child, took my daughter and most recently took my grandchildren.  I repeated the process at nearby Jamestown. 

Although tourism seriously declined during the pandemic, creating a financial strain, the area continues to attract and impress thousands of visitors annually from all over the world.  However, guests attending this June may be in for a surprise.  Whoever made the programming change had to really contort the truth to allege some historical LGBT contributions.  Following is a small sample reported by the Federalist:

“It’s not merely during Pride month, which Williamsburg now celebrates. Colonial Williamsburg has established an ongoing Gender and Sexual Diversity Research Committee to uncover the contributions of “gender and sexual minorities.”

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“The committee’s web page contains four blog posts yielding the product of their “research” so far. It is both thin and adversarial. One article, “Pride and Prejudice: Honoring Historic LGBTQIA+ Voices,” is written as though only backward people think there are two sexes grounded in biology. It focuses mainly on one individual, Anne Lister, who did not live in Williamsburg or even during the colonial era.

Another article, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” says the intention of the Williamsburg Gender and Sexual Diversity Research Committee is to undo “suppression” with an “act of rebellion” and “justice” to the end of “celebrating our progress” while “stand[ing] on the shoulders of [LGBT] giants.” It declares, “May we honor them, may we raise them, may we become them.”

Did the board of directors in Williamsburg wish to earn extra points for their ‘ESG’ score by adding a gender themed woke doctrine to colonial history?  The recent lesson learned by Disney was certainly ignored. 

This was not the first time Virginia history was tailored to fit a woke narrative.  The ‘CRT’ side of woke was helped by the negative press generated by an incident at the 400th Anniversary celebration in Jamestown held in 2019 to recognize it for establishing the first democratic legislature in America.  There was little interest in this event outside of Virginia until President Trump accepted an invitation to speak from former Governor Ralph “Blackface” Northam (D).  The event was marred by a heckler and boycotted by Virginia’s version of the Congressional Black Caucus and black mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney (D). 

The protesters supposedly objected not because of Trump’s presence, but rather because they wanted it known that coincidentally that same month in 1619, an unsolicited group of “20-odd” captured African slaves were traded to the Jamestown settlers and this event legalized slavery in the New World.  The presence of Trump plus the boycott gave the protesters plenty of negative nationwide news coverage.  The publication of “The 1619 Project” by the New York Times closely followed. 

The claims made by the New York Times history are intended to put American history in a bad light and many of their claims are questionable.  However, The Virginia Mercury published a much better researched, less biased article on this contentious subject.  The Mercury asserted, “Much of what we’ve been told about Virginia’s 1619 first Africans is wrong.”  For example: