CIVIL WAR MONUMENTS BANISHED
My recent commentaries about rewriting history by removing monuments and flags relating to the Confederate states has evolved into a nationwide campaign to eliminate these monuments because they incite protests and rallies against white supremacy advocates. The unfortunate incidents in the last few months of injuries and loss of lives forced local communities to reevaluate public display of any Confederate symbol.
I did not have a problem with the order to take down the Confederate flag from southern states capitol buildings and other public places. However, California and Texas still display their state flags not unlike the Confederate flag as the symbolic banner for the South during the Civil War.
Removing from public view the statues and other monuments dedicated to the heroes of the Confederacy, particularly general Robert E Lee and Andrew “Stonewall” Jackson among others, is definitely rewriting history. The tragic Civil War caused great damage to our country, but it did resolve the issue of slavery. Unfortunately the last 150 years has not resolved the issue of segregation and white supremacy.
I don’t really believe that moving these Confederate monuments out of public view is going to cure the ongoing efforts of supremacists to restore the Confederacy. In recent weeks many communities have elected to circumvent the issue by moving the statues to a private museum or even putting a cover over statues on public land.
Will that stop the protests and demands from militant groups who are using the monuments issue as their call to battle?
The monuments removal campaign began on university campuses and was focused on any national hero who had slaves. That is hard to equate since most of the nation’s leaders from the South before 1860 had slaves (begin with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson).
Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton University before president of the U.S. but came from a slave state. Students demanded removal of his name from campus recognition but settled for an “apology” plaque. General Robert E. Lee was the Confederate hero recognized nationally with monuments and naming rights is now considered an evil historic figure by protestors clashing with white supremacists over public display of Lee monuments.
Cities that have ordered removal of all Confederate monuments include Charlottesville, New Orleans, Lexington, Louisville and Richmond. A Civil War Museum near Atlanta closed its doors because it could not display the Confederate flag. That is really rewriting history.
In San Diego, a long way from Civil War battlefields, there is a monument honoring Confederate soldiers at Mt. Hope Cemetery surrounded by grave markers of those who fought for the South. At Horton Plaza a plaque designating the terminus of the Jefferson Highway honored the grand-nephew of Jefferson Davis. It was removed by order of Mayor Faulconer. I cannot imagine any public protest over such an oblique reference to white supremacy. More history rewritten.
The college town of Oxford, Mississippi, home of “Ole Miss,” has a problem. Professor Lucius Lamar was a prominent academic before the Civil War and later served in both chambers of Congress and the Supreme Court. His name appears everywhere. His home is a museum and historic site. He formed a Confederate regiment, and he had slaves.
Is Lamar to be treated like other Confederate patriots by closing his home to the public, changing names on streets and places on campus?
Since many of these Confederate monuments are in public areas or on college campuses, those students organizing protests should spend time reading history and the Civil War. They might discover that slavery did exist. Most southern leaders and landed gentlemen had them. A primary industry in the South needed field hands to produce cotton and other agriculture products. It was the foundation of Dixie-land economy.