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Why Hate Came to the Progressive City of Charlottesville

  • Associated Press

FILE- Members of the white supremacist KKK are escorted by police past a large group of protesters during a KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, July 8, 2017.

The white nationalists behind last weekend's violent rally found an appealing target in the historic town of Charlottesville, Virginia.

That's where Thomas Jefferson founded a university and where an outspoken, progressive mayor declared his city the "capital of the resistance" to President Donald Trump.

For more than a year, the Charlottesville government has also been engaged in contentious public soul searching over its Confederate monuments. The process led to the decision to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee.

All those factors made Charlottesville a symbolically powerful backdrop for what's considered the largest white nationalist gathering in at least a decade.

Mayor Mike Signer say the city's debate about race made it a target for people "who don't want to change the narrative."

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