(May 26, 2018) The YouTube below is a panel discussion about Confederate Monuments from the Sacramento convention of the Organization of American Historians earlier this month. Ed Ayers of the University of Richmond moderates three panel members: John Kuo Wei Then, Turkiya Lowe and Christy Coleman. Ayers is Chairman Emeritus of Richmond University, Wei Then is with New York University, Lowe is the chief historian for the National Park Service, and Coleman is CEO of the American Civil War museum, which is the successor to the Museum of the Confederacy.
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Four points prevail.
First, none of the participants were sympathetic to Confederate symbols. It was an almost entirely one-sided presentation. The Southern viewpoint was ignored on the dais except when Coleman revealed three reasons that Southern proponents had shared with her to explain why they felt the monuments should remain.
Second, all participants generally wanted the statues either removed, or left in place accompanied by new, explanatory stone-and-bronze markers or some other form of “interpretation.” Naturally, panel members seemed to expect that they, and others who think like them, will provide the interpretations.
Third, all explanations for removing the monuments boiled-down to race. Coleman did add, however, that the statues should also be removed because they celebrate “traitors.” But even in that case her argument devolved to race when she opined that Southerners were exercising white privilege when they initially erected their monuments.
Fourth, Lowe and Coleman are young and likely to hold their offices for decades to come. Notwithstanding that Coleman runs a private museum, they are typical of Deep State agenda-driven government employees who expect to control matters pertinent to their domains even as different Presidents come and go. Consider, for example, that despite the opinions of the panel members, a recent survey of readers of the Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine strongly favored keeping Confederate monuments in place.
In addition to the above, Ayers and Coleman made erroneous or egregiously misleading statements.
One happened when Ayers commented that last summer’s Charlottesville riot accelerated the statue-removal trend after white supremacists tried to appropriate the Lee statue. First, he implied that the violence was mostly caused by the heavily outnumbered white supremacists instead of the far more violent and much larger mob of protestors and Antifa members. Second, while he may have accurately said that a young lady was in a peaceful group when a white supremacist ran her down and killed her with his car, Ayers wrongly leaves the impression that most of the Charlottesville violence originated with the white supremacists instead of the protestors and Antifa.
The second falsehood was Coleman’s claim that Southerners have been increasingly using public lands to hoist giant Confederate flags along the heavily travelled portions of Interstate-95 Highway in the South. In truth, most of the flags are located on private property.