First Amendment Monument

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Photo Credit: Preservation in Pink

The First Amendment Monument, officially the Community Chalkboard and Podium, is a monument to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, located in front of Charlottesville City Hall on the Downtown Mall. It is composed of two parts: a wall, 54 feet long by 7.5 feet high, and an adjacent podium. The monument was created by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, and designed by architects Peter O'Shea and Robert Winstead.[1]

Originally proposed in 1997,[2] the dedication ceremony took place on April 20, 2006, and speakers included John Grisham, David Brown, Boyd Tinsley, Dahlia Lithwick, and George Garrett.[3] [4]

The monument was privately funded, with donations coming from Sissy Spacek, Rita Dove, Rita Mae Brown, and John Kluge.[2]

Audio of dedication

<play audio> </play audio>


Public officials cited location and quality of discourse and cause for concern. Charlottesville City Council ultimately voted 3-1 to approve the wall in 2001, with David Toscano opposing and Kevin Lynch abstaining.[2] Council voted 3-1 to approve the location of the monument on July 21, 2003. [5]


  1. Web. The Community Chalkboard and Podium: A Monument to the First Amendment, The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, retrieved 31 July 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Web. Writing on the wall: What the chalkboard will really do, David McNair, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 23 June 2005, retrieved 31 July 2012.
  3. Web. Free Speech Monument Unveiled, Waldo Jaquith,, 20 April 2006, retrieved 31 July 2012.
  4. Web. Community Chalkboard Unveiled on Downtown Mall, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Podcasting Network, April 20, 2006, retrieved September 16, 2014.
  5. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, July 21, 2003.

External Links

official site