Lately, as I watch the news or scroll through social media, I see some people are upset about some monuments being taken down. I hear people making the argument that people are trying to erase our history in America. Especially Southern history. Let me share a little about the history of Southern monuments.
Most people think these Confederate monuments have been around since the end of the Civil War in 1865. This is not the case. The vast majority of these monuments were built between 1895 and the 1950s. Why were so many Confederate monuments built during this time period? Well, it had nothing to do with celebrating these dead soldiers. No, the building of these monuments had more to do with hate and intimidation. Let me give you a little history lesson.
1895-1915: Jim Crow laws are alive and well during this time period. There is a resurgence of the KKK and other white supremacy groups. A large number of Confederate monuments are built during this time.
1915-1955- Jim Crow continues to rule throughout the South.
1955-1970- The Civil Rights Movement kicks into high gear with the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision. In the South, racist groups begin a reign of terror against African Americans and start erecting Confederate monuments again. The motivation was to continue terrorizing African Americans. Most of these monuments were placed in the middle of town and at courthouses.
So, when I hear my fellow Southerners complaining about “Our” history being washed away with these monuments being taken down, I wonder if you truly know the history behind these monuments. These monuments are not about history. These monuments are about hate. That is not the kind of history I want to celebrate.
Here is another history lesson for you. If you travel to Germany, you will not find monuments celebrating Hitler. If you travel to South Africa, you will not find monuments celebrating Apartheid. You will find museums remembering the victims of these horrible crimes.
Let me share one last thing. I do not believe people should be destroying these monuments. That’s just dangerous. Someone could get hurt. I think these monuments should be taken down by city workers and discarded. We need to stop celebrating a history of hate and intimidation. Those were not the good old days. ~OC