David Hall author of this 2017-2018 MLHS senior student editorial
A Black Eye
“Love soothes wounds, while hatred and violence deepen them.” This quote by Willie Stargell truly captures my stance on memorials supporting and remembering the Confederacy in America. Rebel flags within state flags and monuments that glorify the Confederacy show malice and need to be taken down so that we, as a, country can move forward from our past.
According to the Southern Property Law Center, although Confederate monuments are all over America, over 700 of these monuments are scattered across just the Southern States. Many of these statues were erected in the 1920s when racial tensions were high because of Jim Crow Laws and the Civil Rights Movement. The time that these statues were built paints a clear picture of the true meaning of the Confederate monuments, which is not to remember a state’s history, but to encourage racism. A widespread symbol of rebellion and slavery, the rebel flag is still included in the state flags of Mississippi and Alabama, sending a clear message of continued support for racism. A rebel flag contradicts what we as Americans stand for, which is a united nation.
Spreading hate through memorializing tragedy is a disgrace to the progress Americans have made; however, forgetting the history of the Civil War entirely should not happen. If we as a country forget our mistakes, we are bound to repeat the most shameful event in America’s history; we should remember our history, but not glorify our blunder. Keeping memorials around to remember the tragedy and horror of what happened is a respectful gesture, but showing off the hatred and segregation extremely prevalent during that time is not. Instead, these relics should be shown in museums as reminders of a past we should learn from.
To move forward together as one, some need to let go of the pride they feel about their tainted history. Seeing the scars of racism and segregation in this country brings a sense of sorrow and shame. After years of fighting for equal rights, people are still standing by their statues of hate and screaming that the statues represent their history when history shows that southern states seceded to keep their property, which consisted mainly of slaves. They are proud of their heritage when, in fact, they should be disgusted by what southern states did to people of color and realize that preserving the statues is not healthy for us as a nation
To sum up, the monuments and symbols of the Confederacy should be taken down so that America can move on from its mistakes of the past, a past which has created ripples of racism and hatred that spread from generation to generation. Americans need to place monuments in a museum as a way to remind ourselves of the horrors caused by the Civil War. We should not forget the travesty of slavery and the Civil War nor glorify the black eye of America’s past, but move forward as a united nation.