US President Donald Trump drew heavy criticism previous year after he declined to denounce the first instalment of the rally, titled "Unite the Right", but commented there were "very fine people on both sides". Authorities plan to keep them apart to avoid confrontations that tend to turn heated and violent - last year, one woman was killed and several others were injured in numerous skirmishes that broke out.
Trump has told associates that he believes at least one of those issues - his criticism of black NFL players who kneel during the national anthem - is a political victor because it energizes his white base.
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.
In addition, two police officers died in a helicopter crash while they were monitoring the protests. Forty-five percent of Americans feel the president tries to treat whites and racial minorities the same, including eight in 10 Republicans who describe his intentions that way.
Rather's comments come a week after he blasted Trump for his insults of National Basketball Association star LeBron James and CNN anchor Don Lemon. "It's just sad and terrible".
Even against that backdrop, Trump's response to Charlottesville stood out.
"You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides", Trump had said.
But, ultimately, the outrage from those corners subsided.
Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather continued his scathing attack on President Donald Trump, calling his recent tweet on the Charlottesville attacks "provocative and divisive". "It didn't change their views".
"I talked to the President that afternoon, explained him the situation, what had been going on, what these people were doing in the city of Charlottesville", McAuliffe said.
"If he wants to start a race war, he's succeeding", she said.
Trump's job approval among blacks has shown little change, consistently stuck around 10 per cent in most surveys.
Far-right groups are holding another rally Sunday, dubbed "Unite the Right 2", this time in the nation's capital.
Some of Trump's black supporters argue that the criticism is overblown.
Americans who think the president tries to put the interests of whites ahead of minorities overwhelmingly say they disapprove of this. Another 18 percent say race relations have stayed about the same since Trump became president previous year. He was propelled to power in part by a white working-class political base, and analysts say he returns to that core when confronted with political peril.
The students made a number of demands for the university and said they would not "cede to the confines" of police security.