While no decent, sane American would support slavery today, it was practiced for many centuries and involved different races. Most African-Americans would not even be here today were it not for slavery. So they are benefiting from the suffering their ancestors endured.
Where do you draw the line when removing memorials based on the morals of the day? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had slaves, as did Gen. Ulysses Grant while leading Union forces. Will memorials to our World War I and World War II troops be at risk because of the segregation in our military at the time?
Removing a memorial will not improve anyone’s life, but could grow the racial divide and serve as a recruiting tool for the extreme right. Therefore, I like the idea of plaques that would describe the character of the person the statue is of (i.e., “Ben Tillman was a violent racist”).
It has been said that those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it. These memorials could serve as a reminder of our past and benefit all of us in the future.
Never miss a local story.
Robert W. Wilder