As part of our continued commitment to building a culture in which equity and diversity are cultivated, the art faculty finds it necessary to acknowledge the history of the man for whom our department had been named. The McIntire Department of Art, like the McIntire School of Commerce, the McIntire Department of Music and the McIntire Amphitheatre, is named for Paul Goodloe McIntire (1860-1952). McIntire made several substantial financial contributions to the University of Virginia, which totaled around $750,000. This was enough, at the time, to establish the McIntire School of Commerce and the McIntire School of Fine Arts. McIntire, like other proponents of the City Beautiful Movement, saw the arts as a vehicle for organizing public space and promoting particular ideas. In addition to funding a school of art at UVa, he commissioned four statues and several public parks for the city of Charlottesville. The statues McIntire commissioned depict George Rogers Clark, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. George Rogers Clark, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark aided in the violent displacement and removal of Native Americans as the US territory was expanded into the Northwest; Lee and Jackson led the forces of the Confederacy in a failed attempt to secede from the United States. During this period, it was common for public art commissions to use allegory and historical themes to promote specific values and McIntire’s interventions in Charlottesville are no exception. The statues of Lee (erected in 1924) and Jackson (erected in 1921), for example, reference the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy. During McIntire’s time—the Jim Crow era—the Lost Cause ideology was used to justify the extensive and violent repression and disenfranchisement of Black Charlottesville residents, as evidenced by numerous public appearances by the KKK, several lynchings, and local government seizures of Black assets. The Jackson statue is exemplary in this regard. Placed in a park that had been created by razing an entire block of businesses and residences owned or occupied largely by Black merchants and families, the Jackson statue served as a marker of white supremacy. McIntire resided in Charlottesville, on Rugby Road, and lived to see the effects of his cultural contributions. His position on segregation was never in question, nor did he ever reconsider his values in any way that has been reflected in the public record. His history is one of unabashed support for Jim Crow policies. As a department dedicated to the study of art and its histories, we feel that it is crucial to understand and acknowledge the history of McIntire’s name. In addition to pursuing the possibility of changing our department’s name in consultation with University stakeholders, we are committed to researching and confronting the white supremacism McIntire helped cultivate and maintain, along with the name’s continued impact on our community.
William R. Wilkerson and William G. Shenkir, Paul G. McIntire: Businessman and Philanthropist; Founder of Business Education at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville: McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia, 1988).
David Swanson, Remove Monument to Genocide that Welcomes People to UVA.
Brendan Wolfe, History Writ Aright
Samantha Baars, Controversy Resurfaces