Many monuments memorializing Confederate history, culture or heroes are being removed from public spaces throughout cities in America.
Statues are being defaced, and even considered for complete destruction as symbols of the current and historical, prejudicial treatment of black Americans. On the other hand, some consider these monuments symbolizing principled leaders who fought for a way of life fueled by an economic system favoring the privileged.
Our president has rallied against removing what he called “beautiful” Confederate statues and monuments.
Certainly, a culture lasting for centuries has generated some admirable leaders, but history isn’t there for the choosing. One needs to look at the bad, as well as the good, to examine how that culture achieved a gentrified lifestyle for some, at the cost of submitting others to involuntary labor, the whip or even death for failure to act in a submissive-enough manner.
Our country is not in danger of returning to a legal slave culture, but I think those who love the Confederate monuments should be encouraged to express this love, and in a more educational context. I suggest the monuments be placed in a museum, alongside the both beautiful and ugly effects that culture produced.
There already are more than 100 museums dedicated to African-American culture, but one I think appropriate for telling this story is The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. Alongside of this museum, one with the Confederate monuments would provide a more complete story of what is, and is not, of value for further progress toward a just society.
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