Under Construction

Making Sense of Robert E. Lee | History | Smithsonian Magazine
Lee “thought it was a bad idea for Virginia to secede, and God knows he was right, but secession had been more or less democratically decided upon.” Lee’s family held slaves, and he himself was at best ambiguous on the subject, leading some of his defenders over the years to discount slavery’s significance in assessments of his character. Blount argues that the issue does matter: “To me it’s slavery, much more than secession as such, that casts a shadow over Lee’s honorableness.”

What Should Happen to Confederate Statues in the U.S. | Architectural Digest
Although some Confederate monuments were erected soon after the Civil War for reasons of memorialization, many were erected in subsequent years to serve to promote a Lost Cause mythology and to advance the ideals of white supremacy,” Paul Edmondson, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told AD.

According to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, ta whopping 230 monuments and place names throughout the United States honoring Lee, the leader of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, despite the fact that Lee himself opposed the creation of Confederate monuments.

According to Brent Leggs, executive director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, which aims to preserve Black historic sites across the U.S., it’s time to replace Confederate memorials with symbols that represent who we are as a culture now. Until recently, the National Trust for Historic Preservation did not advocate for the removal of Confederate monuments, but the organization shifted its stance in response to the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others. The National Trust now supports removing such monuments from public spaces and relocating them to museums or other places where they can be contextualized and reinterpreted.

The need to remove symbols of the Confederacy seems like a no-brainer. Why descendants of the losers of a war that nearly tore the United States apart were allowed to erect and display such symbols in public places to begin with is mind-boggling. In Germany, Nazi symbols were removed from all public places immediately following the Second World War and a ban on swastikas and other Nazi symbology is codified in the German constitution. Return to Society

last updated 8 Apr 2016