The war on the removal of confederate monuments has been raging for decades and is a war that deserves discussion.
It only makes sense that monuments memorializing the supposed heroes of the confederacy should be removed for the fact that, in this current political climate, they promote a dangerous rhetoric.
In the early hours of April 24, 2017, The Battle of Liberty Monument located at the end of Canal Street in New Orleans was moved from its location and was placed into storage at the behest of Mayor LaToya Cantrell after a group of protestors took to the monument, graffitied and demolished it with sledgehammers.
The monument itself was a memorial for the lives lost during the Battle of Liberty Place after members of the White League attacked a city council members, some of whom were newly emancipated slaves. The monument, which contained the names of the White League members who died in battle, also contained the following statement:
“United States troops took over the state government and reinstated the usurpers, but the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state.”
This is just one example of a confederate monument meeting its demise in the wake of newly awakened racial tensions in this country and thankfully more than 110 confederate monuments have been taken down according to Newsweek.
“They end up in warehouses and people don’t really know what to do with them,” said Heidi Beirich, who leads the intelligence project for the Southern Poverty Law Center in an interview with The New York Times.
In the same article, the idea of selling these monuments to the highest bidder is stated to have been tried in Dallas.
While an exact answer as to where to store these monuments, post-removal has yet to be found, the point is these monuments do indeed need to be removed.
Bloomington, Indiana artist and curator, Sean Starowitz, said: “Confederate monuments are not history, they are works of fiction.”
As time has progressed, the meaning of these monuments has evolved from representation of so-called southern heroes to markers of trauma and instigators of violence at the hands of white nationalists.
In Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalists marched in protest to the city’s plan to remove a monument for Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The protest resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman and left 34 people injured – according to another article from The New York Times.
To think that monuments commemorating the confederacy don’t in any way represent a culture of bigotry is narrowminded and these monuments should have no standing in our country today.
Yes, the argument that these monuments are pieces of history is, technically, true. The concept of what makes a “hero” to someone is also subjective – one man’s hero is another man’s villain.
However, in the key of Starowitz, the south’s concept of the civil war – popularly referred to as The Lost Cause – is not portrayed accurately and, ultimately, their heroes do not deserve the recognition that they have received.
Confederate monuments need to be removed from public view. The rhetoric that they spread, not only in today’s political landscape, but in general, should not be tolerated or enabled any longer.