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The Battle Over Confederate Monuments in New Orleans, The New Yorker Explore our featured collection, Reconstruction and the Fragility of Democracy , to engage your students in a discussion about the legacies of slavery and Reconstruction and the ideas surrounding citizenship and democracy in the United States today. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts. Academics and writers vigorously debate his sentiments and strengths, but historians seem to agree on Lee’s views about memorials. “But he didn’t want a cult of personality for the South.”. Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have made monuments to the Confederate commanding general a flashpoint — at times marching to keep them standing. Some demand the Confederate monuments remain. “As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated,” Lee wrote of an 1866 proposal, “my conviction is, 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.”. This article was produced by Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.. He was a slave owner who some say was cruel and a general who fought to preserve the institution. At the root of the problem is racism. “But you have to ask why [he would remove them]. For now, the removal has been blocked by an injunction issued in one of several lawsuits. We see this again when thinking more broadly about the ways we understand race and identity. It is clear that action is needed to address our public landscape. From frequent recurrences of police brutality and the widening gaps in access to opportunity, to the coronavirus’ outsized impact on communities of color, the invasive disease of racism has spread throughout the American system. Most have been removed. They are symbols of who we — as a society — are. The Make It Right Project has begun working with local activists, academics and citizen journalists in Denton, Texas, to take down the town’s Confederate monument.. Erected in 1918 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the marker has now stood for a century on the grounds of the county court. Research demonstrates this relationship for poverty, school segregation, use of the death penalty, health outcomes and more. A statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army, is seen in the Crypt of the Capitol in Washington. Returning to a familiar and difficult conversation. Your observations should be typed, double-spaced with correct spelling and proper sentence structure, and approximately three-four pages in length. Why or Why Not? Here, we take a look at findings from the Kinder Institute’s State of Housing report in the context of Settegast, a historically Black neighborhood in northeast Houston. Lee advocated protection of just one form of memorial: headstones in cemeteries. to the Confederacy? Removed California Angry mobs are tearing down and defacing monuments across America. But Lee himself never wanted such monuments built. and unspeakable sacrifices, To lavish praise on those who fought for the Confederacy and leave prominent monuments honoring their cause is to deny the brutal reality of the people who were enslaved. Heather O’Connell is a professor of sociology at Louisiana State University. Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond. s academic quad. Removal of Confederate monuments and memorials is an ongoing process in the United States since the 1960s. All Rights Reserved. From Charlottesville, Va., to New Orleans, La., the removal of Confederate statues from public spaces and the debates over their removal are making national news. However, this option ignores the importance of placement. In Centreville, Alabama, the United Daughters of the Confederacy described their “Confederate heroes” using the following text: “These were men who In all, more than 30 monuments and symbols to the Confederacy have been dedicated or rededicated since 2000, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Kraft Hall Rather than merely coinciding with Jim Crow laws or pushback against civil rights progress, the act of erecting monuments to the Confederacy was another plank in the platform to promote white supremacy and rewrite history. Still, some may argue that the past is the past and it has no bearing on today. Anti-miscegenation laws legalized racial boundaries, but were abolished in 1967. 6100 Main Street, Suite 305 Here are some ways to address it. The statue is featured prominently on the Rice campus. Monuments dedicated to this historical moment — the year we came together during a global pandemic to fight for equality, for life — could be a truly inspirational and uniting public symbol. Monuments to the Confederacy must come down. The United Daughters of the Confederacy were instrumental in … Last month, Virginia Gov. “He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive.”, Construction crews prepare a monument of Robert E. Lee, who was a general in the Confederate Army, for removal in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 19, 2017. Worse, others responded by erecting new Confederate monuments. Removing them and doing nothing more masks the underlying systemic racism that supported their initial placement on public property. Lee himself was conflicted about the core issues of his day. We are witnessing the removal and, in some cases, outright toppling of statues commemorating the Confederacy. Subscribe to the Urban Edge to be notified when new stories are published. “I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”, WATCH:The shifting history of Confederate monuments. As the deaths of black men and women resulting from police violence continues in America, protestors in cities large and small are calling for the end of systemic inequalities and police brutality. Leaving them where they stand suggests that they — and the history they represent — are important. Virginia State Troopers stand under a statue of Robert E. Lee before the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. A group of Democratic state lawmakers is working to make this year’s Confederate Heroes Day the last. “It’s often forgotten that Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments,” said Jonathan Horn, the author of the Lee biography, “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington.”. Horn leaned toward yes, though he noted that it’s impossible to compare Lee’s views in the 1860s with the situation today. ... Make … But these monuments are tied to a divisive history and the denial of the Black American experience. The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was hauled down by protesters in Richmond, Va., the old capital of the slave South, within hours of Trump embracing the symbols of the Confederacy. Rice University Follow the Kinder Institute on social media. They put up monuments to T.J. because of the Declaration of Independence, which every group has used to make their place in American society. Note to our readers: We are no longer giving away free PDFs of Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture by Karen L. Cox and Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War by William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske. And not just Confederate monuments. Raw emotions and a sharp political divide were revealed by an unsuccessful attempt in the 2019 session to make it far more difficult to remove monuments to the Confederacy … If white people truly mean well, they must make an unflinching commitment to the tough, unpleasant and honest work of authentic change. Houston, TX 77005-1892. More than merely testimonies to the past, the division and inequality that slavery began remains steadfastly part of our day-to-day. Some places heeded that call — the Confederate battle flag flying over the SC state capitol came down; monuments in Baltimore were contextualized and later removed — but most ignored it. A compromise proposes adding plaques to contextualize the monuments and explain their origins. Learn more about Friends of the NewsHour. Photo by by Dean Hinnant / Unsplash. Many municipalities in the United States have removed monuments and memorials on public property dedicated to the Confederate States of America (CSA), and some, such as Silent Sam in North Carolina, have been torn down by protestors. Is it appropriate for cities/states to publicly display monuments (flags, statues, etc.) a priceless heritage of Honor.”, “It is a duty we owe to At the center of the “Unite the Right” rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville last weekend was a protest of the city’s plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. They voice concern over a loss of heritage and argue that removing a monument accomplishes nothing. Forthcoming research by Christina Simko, David Cunningham and Nicole Fox suggests that places that accomplish this are in a better position to maintain meaningful conversations about inequality, even after the monument is removed. © 1996 - 2021 NewsHour Productions LLC. Monumental changes require removing monuments to the Confederacy. So, here we are, again. Lee died in 1870, just five years after the Civil War ended, contributing to his rise as a romantic symbol of the “lost cause” for some white southerners. Historians are clear on the fact that the Civil War was not motivated by states’ rights. by their sublime courage But the Confederate general Robert E. Lee himself never wanted such monuments … Before the war, Lee opposed secession, but once his native Virginia voted to leave the Union he declared he was honor-bound to fight for the Confederacy. No one puts a monument up to Washington or Jefferson to promote slavery. It was motivated by a desire to preserve the status quo and continue enslaving Black Americans. by their strict adherence posterity to see that But while he was alive, Lee stressed his belief that the country should move past the war. In fact, they celebrate rebellion. Op-Ed: California removes almost all of its Confederacy … He might just want to hide the history, to move on, rather than face these issues.”, Left: Removing a monument or renaming a building are steps toward using symbols that better reflect shared values of equity and inclusion. Americans once again are calling for and debating the removal of Confederate monuments. “All I think that can now be done,” he wrote in 1866, “is … to protect the graves [and] mark the last resting places of those who have fallen…”. A final, complementary option to consider is the addition of a new monument. Some want them to remain, claiming they are part of their heritage. That’s where Confederate monuments fall short. Even here in Houston, students at Rice University are asking for the statue of William Marsh Rice — the university’s founder and a slave owner — to be removed. There are many sides to this debate, and a corresponding list of actions to take. Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work. Five years ago, in the wake of the racially motivated mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that left eight African American parishioners dead, we saw similar calls to action. Why talk about this at all? Subscribe to ‘Here's the Deal,’ our politics newsletter. The statue of Rice, who was a slave owner, is prominently located in the center of the school’ Along Richmond, VA's manicured Monument Avenue, statues of Confederate leaders stand among pristine trees and a grassy mall.As of June 10, there is one less Confederate statue for passersby to see. “I don’t think that means he would have felt good about the people who fought for the Confederacy being completely forgotten,” Cobb added. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have protested the removal of Confederate monuments. Leaving them in place only honors the Confederacy’s cause: To preserve the status quo and continue enslaving Black Americans. They make no distinction between Confederate and Union, abolitionist and pro-slavery, 15th-century figures and 20th. Would Lee have opposed his own monument today? She is a former Kinder Institute fellow. You know, you would think betraying your country and getting bodied for it hundreds of years ago would be enough to stop people from sympathizing with the Confederacy, but no… True healing will begin only when the pressure of racist monuments is removed from African Americans' necks. If you would like to order copies of the print editions, visit upress.ufl.edu. In “Prophetic City,” Stephen Klineberg shows us where change has taken Houston and where it’s likely to take the nation. But if we remove them outright, we run the risk of both forgetting the role they played and why their removal was called for in the first place. COVID-19 and Cities, Demographics, Education, Governance, Urban Disparity, COVID-19 and Cities, Education, Health, Urban Disparity, COVID-19 and Cities, Demographics, Housing, Urban Disparity, Education, Governance, Health, Urban Disparity. 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