Confederate Monuments

Confederate+Monuments

Gillian Holmgren, Reporter

Confederate statue and flag supporters argue that they represent “heritage not hate” while in actuality, they represent a time of terrorism among people of the same country and continue to use it to intimidate and justify their racism. Clearly, they don’t understand what they’re defending. From the beginning of the Confederacy to its miserable defeat in May of 1865, it stood for white supremacy and continues to stand for it now. Monuments should reflect American values that can be respected by everyone, not arouse negative and hateful ideas of superiority.

Though the Civil War was from 1861-1865, many Confederate statues weren’t built until the early 1900’s. With the rise of black power and wealth during Reconstruction, white supremacists wanted to find new methods of control; they used this time to further their crusade against the black population.  This crusade consisted of the KKK, lynchings, Jim Crow segregation, and rewriting of history through the mass production of Confederate statues.

The statues were strategically placed in areas with a large black population in order to instill fear into the minds of African Americans. White supremacists were focused on maintaining the power they had over black people and had a concerted plan to do so. Each peak in the production of confederate monuments coincided with a time of blatant racism.  

With even the smallest accomplishments in black rights came a targeted backlash in white supremacy and the creation of Confederate statues. This occurred alongside an increase of white supremacist groups, the “Lost Cause” myth, and as the Jim Crow laws were cemented into southern societies. This is not a coincidence, this is a clear sign that confederate monuments are symbols of racism.

If these statues are put in place to commemorate “heroes” of the Confederacy and the Civil War, why isn’t there a single statue of an emancipated slave? Or any person of color? Why put up reminders of a loss?

Even Robert E. Lee, the center of the Charlottesville rally, didn’t want to erect the statues, saying in 1866, “I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”

For some reason, southerners can’t face the facts about the history of the Confederacy. People walk the streets of southern towns dressed head to toe in Confederate flags and other white supremacist regalia, chanting slurs and hate speech; what does that say about their heritage? These people aren’t protesting against the elimination of Southern culture and history, but instead reacting to their own deluded ideas that white people are losing control.

The South lost the war, but it seems people are still fighting in one with the same core ideas: racism, intolerance, and hatred. And at the center are symbols that  represent the most racist and hostile times in U.S. history.