Opinion

Readers speak out on Confederate statues, Sons of Confederate Veterans column

Black plastic and police tape cover the vandalism to the Confederate Women’s Monument on the State Capitol grounds on July 21, 2015 in Raleigh, NC. The vandalism was discovered overnight and was covered by daybreak.
Black plastic and police tape cover the vandalism to the Confederate Women’s Monument on the State Capitol grounds on July 21, 2015 in Raleigh, NC. The vandalism was discovered overnight and was covered by daybreak. rwillett@newsobserver.com

You can read and comment on more local news on editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page.

A post Thursday linking to a column by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (“Don’t cherry pick history. Monuments must stand”) and a photo of the Women of the Confederacy Monument on the State Capitol grounds generated 125 comments by that afternoon. Mark wrote:

Today’s question: Remembering and teaching history is important. But isn’t this pretty simple, really? If this were Germany, not North Carolina, and these statues depicted Nazis, not Confederate soldiers, would we allow it? Am I missing something?

Here is what some of you said:

Dorothy Cookie Teer: What were the lessons being inculcated into the boy at the knee of his mother, sword in hand? The myth and the glory of the Confederacy and slavery. Propaganda – statues glorifying history are propaganda.

Carl Nordgren: There is a difference between remembering history and celebrating it. Taking down the statues isn’t about forgetting what happened; it’s being so clear about it that we don’t want to honor it.

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Chris Weaver: The use of Nazis to make analogies of memorials to dead Confederates has serious issues, but I understand the liberal intent to tap emotion. You know the funny thing about Germany? They got rid of EVERYTHING Nazi – and the neo Nazis are more prevalent than ever before.

Bill Madden: Past time to move it. Take it off the marble pedestal – down to eye-level. Let’s move “Silent Sam” to an unpromenient spot and discuss how it was used as a symbol of white supremacy when raised during Jim Crow.

Wes Tripp: I’m fine with them standing, just not in places of prominence like our State Capitol. Governor Cooper’s suggestion to move them to a Civil War battlefield site is appropriate.

Jim Bartow: The problem is that this statue issue is not about the Civil War in the 19th century. It is about the white supremacy movement in the 20th. These monuments are not about soldiers fighting for a particular cause; it is about terrorism. And that is why they must go or at least be moved from where they are. Unless it is a battlefield, no courthouses no schools, no seats of government.

Dolly Carlene Reaves: I get it, people really want to remember the Civil War as it reminds them of their heritage. So here’s an idea, let’s erect monuments of slaves right next to these Confederate monuments. That way, when people claim “we had nothing to do with slavery, it shouldn’t be held over our heads,” well ... these monuments are cherry picking history.

Katherine Walker: OK – I agree that you can’t cherry pick history – therefore the statues need to go! Daughters of the Union didn’t dedicate statues all over the place. Why only Confederate revisionist-history? Daughters of the Confederacy placed “sentries” with guns on their shoulder – outside government offices across the South – “honoring” a failed attempt to maintain a social structure where some humans were deemed non-people or less-than-one-person. Why in 2017 do we need to continue to support this idea?

Beverly Meek: “Perhaps the most poignant of the three memorials targeted by Cooper is the one dedicated to the women of the Confederacy,” Kevin Stone, the commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans writes in the guest column. “It does not celebrate or honor the men who fought for the Confederate States of America. It does not celebrate slavery, but rather those who were left behind and scratched out a living, providing for their children while their husbands, brothers, fathers, and uncles went off to war. They endured hardships, starvation, and death.” ... and sold women, children, babies for profit and suffered to keep that power over the living, in fact, were willing to die to keep that power. Yes, they provided for “their” children and condemned black children in the same breath. Heinous, hateful and heartless and white supremacy at its most lethal. There is NO redeeming value in a single person who would fight to enslave another human. They knew EXACTLY what they were doing and what they wanted. Honor them? NEVER!

Danielle Adams: The history of my family is that they were in chains, that they fought and died for freedom, they were beaten and raped. My fault toiled in fields and raised the children of white families so they faught their way out through education at Shaw University and other institutions of higher learning. Then when many of these statues were erected during Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, not in remembrance of those who died but as warning to those who suffered, members of my family were murdered for trying to vote, hung from trees for existing in white spaces, and terrorized by men in hoods. Where are the monuments to those who were tortured and terrorized and died for freedom? Trauma that still exists in families across North Carolina.

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