Monuments honored slave-owning past

Southern 'heritage' isn't anything to celebrate
Re June 15 letter, “Southerners don’t have to deny heritage”: Michael Decker complains about criticism of “all individuals who proud of being Southerners and prize their Southern heritage — which is one of heritage and not hate.”
By “Southerners,” he’s referring to white Southerners who celebrate the history of the Confederacy. But there are other Southerners, black and white, who also prize many aspects of their heritage but are clear-eyed about what the Confederacy stood for: the perpetuation and extension of the system of slavery.
The monuments being removed in New Orleans themselves (not the people seeking to remove them) sought to erase history and reinvent what the South was fighting for in the Civil War — spinning the myth of a noble “lost cause” rather than the sordid system of subjugating and enslaving African Americans. They were erected at precisely the same time that white domination was being reimposed on black Southerners at the end of Reconstruction.
One of the monuments removed celebrated “The Battle of Liberty Place,” where white terrorists murdered black Republicans in 1874 in Louisiana in an effort to reimpose white supremacy. These were not neutral objects of “heritage;” they were specifically political symbols.
Read New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s speech about the monuments. Landrieu is about as Southern as you can get. He’s proud of his Southern heritage and the history of New Orleans, but he’s not blind to the ugly side of that history. As Landrieu put it, “The Civil War is over, and the Confederacy lost and we are better for it.” 
Mr. Decker, meanwhile, is free to erect a statue of Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, or whoever on his own lawn and celebrate whatever twisted “heritage” he thinks they symbolize.
Andrew Morris

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Leave a Reply