In current events there has been a lot of hoopla about confederate monuments. As I'm sure anyone that that doesnt live under a rock is aware of the riot that started in Charlottesville VA and ended with some wacko Neo Nazi wanna be nationalist gunning it towards a group of people, killing 1 woman and injuring about 2 dozen more.
In a recent study (2017) there are about 1500 statues, symbols and monuments of the Confederacy in public places throughout the country, most of which are in the southern part of of the country. They include not only statues and monuments but also names of schools, libraries, flags and other assorted tributes. The majority of which were erected in the early 20th century, specifically 1911 which was the the 50 year anniversary of the start of the civil war. (1861 to 1865). There is a belief that a lot of these statues and monuments were erected as a "fuck you" to the north and the introduction of the Jim Crow laws that supported segregation between 1876 and 1965.
Make no mistake, we all know why the Civil War was waged, it was in a nutshell for a State's right to allow people to be owned.
A little History Lesson...
By the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 slavery was legal in all 13 colonies. By the time the Constitution was ratified in 1789 there was a small number of free people of color who were among voting citizens (male property owners). After the revolution the Abolitionist laws were passed in most northern states which developed into a movement to abolish slavery.
By the end of the 18th century, Slavery was pretty much abolished, in the north at least. The problem came around because in the north there was a different economy and much more low cost labor. At the same time, the cotton industry in the south was booming, and so to keep up with the high demand, the southern states remained slave societies. And during that same time, the southern states tried to extend slavery into the western territory and annex cuba as slave territory, this is pretty much when the country became polarized over the use of slavery, so much so, it created the mason-dixon line, where above the line, colored people were free, below, not so much.
One more little tidbit before I get to my actual commentary is by the time the Slaves were freed, there were 4 million slaves in this country...think about that for a second...FOUR MILLION SLAVES...now that's fucked up...
So here we are, 2017 and we are fighting over tributes. I mentioned above, the majority of these statues, monuments and tributes were not erected directly after the end of the civil war but decades later. Whether or not they really were a "fuck you" in the face of the more socially progressive north and government, I do not know, it was 106 years ago, not many people are still around from that time to tell us truthfully what was the idea behind the tributes.
If you look at this logically, for colored people, to look upon a statue of a general or soldier that you know wanted you and your children enslaved to them, segregated, ostracized and treated worst than a dog, just put your feet in their shoes for a minute. What if it were colored people who wanted to subjugate white anglo saxon people? How would it make you feel seeing those tributes?
I am not condoning the violence and the protests that have been going on, I feel that nothing will ever be settled if people don't stop screaming and listen for a minute and have a reasonable conversation without resorting to name calling and blame...
Should the tributes be taken down?
I think that should be handled on a case by case basis. These are all antiquated works of art and should be treated as such. Art in its many forms, isn't always liked or enjoyed. Art is made to evoke emotion, good and bad, so these tributes are indeed works of art. As works of art, I feel they should be put into museums, not destroyed.
There are larger ones, like Stone Mountain in GA (which, if you have never been, you should go, it's really spectacular) which can not be put into a museum but I think should stay where it is, untouched. The point is that we can not whitewash (no pun intended) our history but we can tell it to our children in an appropriate way. What is going on now with the insanity of the statues is just ridiculous and short sided.
Why is this a Problem now?
In my research on this subject, I found that it's not necessarily new. While there have been outcries about the flying of the confederate flag over Public properties for many years, it all came to the mass public light and social media in 2015 when Dylan Roof shot and killed 9 colored people in a church in Charleston, SC. He got a lot of attention because he posted pictures of himself posing with firearms and the confederate flag. Eventually the confederate flag that flew for years at the state capital was taken down. And this is what started this Statue shitstorm we are living through today.
The confederacy fought to maintain slavery and white supremacy in the United States, it's a very dark spot on the south, and they know it and that is why now the representatives of these states are looking at taking these tributes down.
While there is historical justification to these tributes, it isn't really something this country as a whole should honor or commemorate in any way. But because these tributes have been there for so long, they should be treated with the historical value and teaching generations to come.
In ending, a quote from Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist.
"We must never forget Victory to the Rebellion meant death to the Republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers. The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered."