I’ve spent some time getting more perspective, viewpoints, and background on the tearing down of confederate statues. Here is where I stand.
First, I am against the defacing, tearing down, and destruction of confederate statues. They represent a time in America’s history that can’t be simply erased or ignored and for many who’s decedents fought in the war—family pride.
Two, statues typically celebrate, glorify, or pay tribute to people or ideas. I understand why some black people who drive or walk by these statues daily may take exception and be opposed with the reminder of these leader’s stand on slavery.
Three, the Civil War was this country’s darkest hour. Brother fought brother and the ideas over which they fought centered on slavery and freedom. It’s a period of time that can’t be erased. I’ve agreed previously with the statement “we must learn from history…not erase it.”
Four, things that teach include books, documentaries, museums, and schools (when all sides of issues and history are allowed to be taught). Statues can be part of that teaching—but would they not be better presented in a different setting?
Five, I’ve changed my thinking to the belief that these statues could be part of an important story told to Americans inside a grand tribute to the ideas, conflict, people, and eventual outcome of the Civil War.
It’s interesting to me that there are two significant Civil War museums in the United States.
The National Civil War Museum in Pennsylvania (the North) and the American Civil War Museum (in the South). In my opinion neither pay tribute in size and scope to the Civil War as they should. Sure there are other Civil War museums in the U.S. but these two, one set in the North and one set in the South—seem to define the Civil War from the perspectives of the “sides.”
What if the “The United States National Civil War History and Tribute Museum” were created and built as close to ontop of the Mason Dixon line as feasible?
And the current contents and displays of the existing museums were removed and “brought together” in this new, grand place?
And in this new grand place, an exhibit hall or wing was created that housed all of the country’s confederate statues. One, as a form of tribute, education, and ensuring these statues remain for the ages. And two, the exhibit hall would tell a second important story about today’s chapter in U.S. history.
It would tell a story about the realization by our country’s leadership of the incendiary nature of statues standing in cities and neighborhoods all over the South that are constant reminders to some of slavery and those that celebrated and fought for it. It would tell a story about how, in a major acknowledgment to the continued existence of racism in America, that in 2020 it was decided that these reminders in the form of glorification would be removed from the countryside and brought together as part of the purpose of this exhibit all: education and reflection.
America’s future generations would see in the exhibit hall that in the America of 2020, we took a bold step to reinforce that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It could be one of the boldest stands against racism in decades in America and become part of the healing we need at this time more than ever.