• author
    • Kelvin Wade

    • June 17, 2020 in Columnists

    Let the Confederacy die a well-deserved death

    Can we finally purge the Confederate battle flag, statues, monuments and names from places of honor? If an individual wants to fly that flag on their car, their home or wave it in public, that’s their right. People have a First Amendment right to confirm their bigotry for all to see. But as for honoring the Confederacy in the public square? That day is gone.

    There are ten U.S. Army bases across the South named after Confederate generals. For instance, Fort Bragg in North Carolina is named for one of the most incompetent Confederate generals, Braxton Bragg. Before the war Bragg ran a sugar plantation with 105 slaves, many of them children. Fort Benning in Georgia is named for secessionist and white supremacist Henry Louis Benning who once warned that blacks could achieve positions of power if they were free and why should white people stand for that?

    The bases were built at the height of Jim Crow at the same time statues and monuments of Confederate white supremacists went up in the South. Why? The military was anxious for land for bases and gave in to Southern politicians and locals who wanted to romanticize their treasonous past. By the way, Gen. David Petraeus has argued that no base should be named after people who committed treason against their country. Who can argue with that?

    But you’re erasing history, the defenders claim. Bullshit.

    Let me ask you some questions without the benefit of Google. What was the Dred Scott decision? What was Plessy v. Ferguson about? Marbury vs. Madison? Who was Crispus Attucks? How was chattel slavery different from indentured servitude? Who was Nathan Bedford Forrest? What were the Intolerable Acts about? Who was John Brown? Who was Nathan Hale? Who was George Mason? Who was Sacagawea? What were the Coercive Acts? Who was William Tecumseh Sherman?

    If you can’t answer those questions yet support Confederate monuments and statues then perhaps maintaining American history isn’t your true motivation.

    American history can be found in schools and universities, libraries, bookstores, movies, documentaries and museums across this country. There’s no shortage of information about American history. Where is history being erased?

    No country pays fealty to a vanquished civil war foe by flying their flags, erecting statues and monuments and naming military installations after them. And like we’ve seen, it’s not as if these monuments and naming ceremonies took place in the aftermath of the Civil War. No, the vast majority were erected over a half century later during the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the widespread lynching of blacks. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that paying homage to these losers were done to bolster white supremacy.

    Lastly, why are Republican politicians and a Republican president defending these emblems of the Confederacy when Abraham Lincoln was a Republican who led this nation against that treasonous internal enemy? Why have Republicans sided with Robert E. Lee and the Stars and Bars over Honest Abe and the Stars and Stripes? Why are Republicans kneeling on behalf of white supremacy?

    No one will forget the turncoats and white supremacists who fought to destroy our union and keep blacks enslaved. We don’t need to pay respects to wicked men. We have Union generals, American soldiers, Medal of Honor winners, scientists, doctors, educators, Civil Rights leaders, women’s rights and LGBTQ activists and other true American heroes that deserve statues, monuments and naming privileges.

    No, we’re not erasing history. By destroying the monuments, relegating statues to museums and stripping names, we’re giving them exactly what they’re due. Shame.

    • I have never understood why the leaders of the Confederacy were allowed to be honored as heroes. They were TRAITORS. And that is in the shadow of the slavery that was the fabric of the Confederate life.

      Totally agree with you – for what it means to Black Americans and what it means to the country, all of this stuff must come down. Mind boggling that it was every allowed to be erected. Keeping that stuff visible makes Southern racists believe that “it’s all still there” even if they can’t see it. It keeps racism alive.

      • Alexia Worsham

      • June 26, 2020 at 8:45 am
      • Reply

      I agree completely. History can’t be erased, it happened. We can choose which history we celebrate, though, and which historical figures we condemn. Confederate leaders do not deserve to be honored with monuments in public places, they should be denounced, and their statues should be dumped with the trash where they belong.

      • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      • June 30, 2020 at 11:13 pm
      • Reply

      I grew up in Missouri and went to Robert E. Lee elementary school. We were raised on every whitewashed lie there was — Lee was a reluctant general but a good man, slaves could be happy if their owners were nice — all that crap. Despite being more woke than average even back then, I still find I have to root out the garbage I was taught that attempted to make the unconscionable palatable to whites. No. Let the Confederacy die at last. Eradicate all evidence except for in museums where all those damned pretty statues can be put up beside pictures of scarred slaves so that nobody mistakes what these monsters were all about. Oh — they can keep the horses where they are. The horses never did a damn thing. But get those wretches off the street corners where they were placed to threaten black people — and I never want to see a damned Confederate flag again.

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