Thursday, August 17, 2017

"To Call These Statues Historical Is to Be Willfully Ignorant of History. The Statues Are Monuments to White Supremacy, Not to Lee, Not to Jackson"

In "The Monuments Must Go," Stonewall Jackson's great-great-grandsons William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian write Richmond mayor Levar Stoney and his monuments commission:

We are native Richmonders and also the great, great grandsons of Stonewall Jackson. As two of the closest living relatives to Stonewall, we are writing today to ask for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. They are overt symbols of racism and white supremacy, and the time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. . . . 
While we do not purport to speak for all of Stonewall’s kin, our sense of justice leads us to believe that removing the Stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy have wrought. We hope other descendants of Confederate generals will stand with us.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, who is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, writes in"Charlottesville: One battle in a war for America’s very soul,"

Where, for example, is the statue to the slaves who built the White House and the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.? Where is the statue to the slaves who worked the cotton fields and provided the raw material for the factories in the north, which wove the fabric that made the garments which clothed Americans as they moved west and expanded the United States? Where are the statues of the black Americans who fought on the side of the Union in the Civil War? Where are the statues honoring the slaves who built the grand downtowns of capital cities of Richmond and Atlanta and Columbia and Raleigh and Jackson and Montgomery and Baton Rouge? There are streets and highways all over the South named after Confederate generals like John Mosby and John Bell Hood. Apart from a few boulevards here and there named for civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, where are the names of the slaves who actually built those streets and roads? Where are the statues in the public plazas honoring the towering figures of the civil rights movement who came along later and turned dreams into reality, wrongs into rights? 
This is the history that the white supremacists who rioted in Charlottesville were trying to suppress by protesting the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee. They realize that the negative space left in Emancipation Park will be filled with history they seek to deny — a history of accomplishment and honor of African-Americans that puts the lie to white supremacy.

Karen Cox, "Why Confederate Monuments Must Fall":

Confederate monuments have always been symbols of white supremacy. The heyday of monument building, between 1890 and 1920, was also a time of extreme racial violence, as Southern whites pushed back against what little progress had been made by African-Americans in the decades after the Civil War. As monuments went up, so did the bodies of black men, women and children during a long rash of lynching.
In the civil rights era, segregationists again sought to push back any attempt to challenge white male supremacy. Once again, they rallied under the banner of the Confederate battle flag. But this time, local and state officials from law enforcement and state agencies like the Sovereignty Commission in Mississippi joined them in their effort. 
Today, the battle for white male supremacy has expanded in scope. It is nativist, anti-feminist and anti-Semitic. It is also homophobic. As always, it is racist. And it has fully embraced the imagery of Nazism, from Adolf Hitler to swastika flags to the Nazi salute. 

Sarah Wildman, "Why you see swastikas in America but not Germany":

But unlike in Germany, where memorials to the victims of the Holocaust are erected on the ruins of Nazi buildings as a way to teach future generations about the sins and horrors of the past, most Confederate statues were designed to glorify the sins and horrors of the past. 
Professor Kirt von Daacke, co-chair of the University of Virginia President's Commission on Slavery and the University, explains that the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville was erected in 1924 "as part of the apex of white supremacist rule in Virginia and the US. It was explicitly part of a project designed to claim public space for whites only and remind African Americans that they were the dominated whose lives were worthless."
Both the statue of Robert E. Lee and a nearby statue of Stonewall Jackson, he continues, were installed just after the KKK marched directly into the heart of the African-American community. 
"These statues," he says, were "the final act in a 30-plus-year project in Virginia ... eliminating African Americans from citizenship and the public sphere and erasing the history of the Civil War." He sees both of them as part of a Lost Cause mythology that itself was a whitewashing of history. 
"To call these statues historical is to be willfully ignorant of history," he adds. "The statues are monuments to white supremacy, not to Lee, not to Jackson."

The graphic, "Statue of Limitations," is by Mr. Fish at Truthdig.

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