Ever since the recent white nationalist and neo-Nazi rally took place in Charlottesville, Va., in August, a big question that has been asked and analyzed over and over has risen: Should there be a removal of Confederate public images?
The answer is a clear-cut yes. These statues represent nothing but the glorification of these Confederate leaders and their racist beliefs. They are a painful and constant reminder of how dehumanized black people in America were then.
Whether those statutes are kept up or not, people will continue to be reminded of the racism that took place during that time in history by learning it in movies, documentaries, books, and education systems.”
— Staff Writer Maria Victoria Sponar
Some people strongly disagree with this proposition, saying that removing Confederate statues would “take away” from Southern history and culture, and people should not try to “erase history.”
Many of these statues were not even built until many years after the war, during the Jim Crow Laws era. Warren Christian, a descendant of Confederate leader Stonewall Jackson, told CNN that the people that built these statues were doing it to “intimidate black people and further white supremacy.”
People also feel like if these statues of Confederate war leaders are taken down, there will be a sort of “chain of events” that will lead to the taking down of statues such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because they, too, owned slaves. However, stomach-churning it is to know that these presidents were slave owners, they are not only known for this. They were presidents and keys in the foundation of our country’s values and laws and had a large influence in the base of American laws.
Confederate leaders, however, are mainly known for wanting to continue slavery in America and glorifying the dehumanization of black people. Opening an American history book will give anyone this basic knowledge and will make the clear distinction between the taking down of Confederate statues and presidential statues.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” President Trump said in a tweet. But how exactly is taking down the statue of a Confederate leader who wanted to keep slavery alive erasing the history and culture of this country? The Civil War still happened. Whether those statutes are kept up or not, people will continue to be reminded of the racism that took place during that time in history by learning it in movies, documentaries, books, and education systems.
Even the Confederate leaders themselves disapproved of having statues or monuments after them. General Robert E. Lee, one of the most famous Confederate generals, said that having statues or monuments of him or other Confederate generals would only “keep open the sores of war.” He went on to write that “however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; and of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”
The continuation of these monuments will only showcase a sick form of representation and glorification to generals that only wanted division, racism, and slavery to be kept alive in America. “We will never solve America’s race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African Americans in chains,” Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond said. America must come together as a nation and open their eyes to the truth, that one cannot praise and honor white chauvinists and desire true racial equality at the same time.