(July 26, 2020) To successfully defend Confederate memorials it will be necessary to refute the specific arguments that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) uses against them as documented in this study paper. Beginning on page 40 the SPLC challenges eleven common arguments we use to defend Confederate symbols. Here’s one:
Defender’s Claim: It’s heritage not hate.
SPLC’s Response: While some people see Confederate symbols as emblems of Southern pride and heritage, the question must be asked: Whose heritage? The “heritage, not hate” argument ignores the near-universal heritage of African Americans who were enslaved by the millions in the South and later subjected to brutal oppression under the white supremacist regime of Jim Crow. Our democracy is based on equality under the law, and public entities should not prominently display symbols that undermine that concept and alienate an entire segment of the population.
My Reply. Few Confederate statue defenders object when new memorials are added to honor black Americans. Richmond honored black tennis player Arthur Ashe over thirty years ago with a statue on Monument Avenue where its major Confederate statues recently stood. MLK has been honored in the South with memorials and far more street and school names than in the North. Thirteen years ago Arkansas erected sculptures to the Little Rock Nine on the state capitol grounds where they presently share the landscape with two Confederate statues. Adding new statues promotes harmony and tells two stories separated in time. Removing old ones in order to negate them with new ones sows discord. It also tells only one story where two are required for full comprehension.
Imagine which statues might stand on Monument Avenue a century from now. Perhaps one will be Martin Luther King who valued interracial fraternity by saying, “I have a dream that one day . . . the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” Possibly, instead, one will be Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney who hurriedly removed century-old statues, dumped them near a sewage plant, let rioters vandalize and destroy the town for weeks, bound his white police chief hand and foot before firing him so that he might be replaced with a black chief.
Action you can take: Read my books. Confederate Heritage proponents are making too many falacious arguments about tariffs. The chief problem with protective tariffs was their tendency to create Northern domestic monopolies, not the tariff fees. In 1866 railroad iron cost $32 a ton in Liverpool but $80 in New York. Since little was imported the greater evil—by far—was the domestic monopoly that enabled Northern manufacturers to get the price premium. Learn more in Ulysses Grant’s Failed Presidency,
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To defend Confederate Heritage get informed by purchasing and reading the books at My Amazon Author Page.
The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh
The Devil’s Town by Philip Leigh