FEEDBACK:  Comments on what to do about Confederate monuments

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Article is a welcome statement

To the editor:

That’s good. [9/1: Let’s take a new middle road on Confederate monuments].

As a history lover and admirer of sculpture, this great-great-grandson of a Confederate soldier who owned no slaves wants peace and tranquility. A lifelong champion of civil rights, I am now being painted with same brush as Nazis and Ku Kluxers. [Charleston Mayor John] Tecklenberg’s idea and your article is a welcome statement.

— Bryan Harrison, Charleston, S.C.

Working to shape political consensus

To the editor

THANK YOU for bringing us a thoughtful and workable solution to this vexing and deeply divisive issue.

I am a retired physician in Florence and enjoy your weekly columns in the Morning News. I believe your column is important to this and other S.C. communities in that it appears, at least to me, that you are attempting to shape political consensus rather than deepen the ideological divides that so polarize this nation.

Along that line I’d like to recommend a short, concise book I recently read entitled “The Once and Future Liberal, After Identity Politics” by Mark Lillal (http://a.co/7MCYY9A). If you haven’t yet read it, it’s an excellent and straightforward piece that encourages the modern reader to replace their particular identity politics with more effective party politics.

Thank you again and keep up your good work.

— Ken Kammer, Florence, S.C.

Skeptical about whether markers would help

To the editor:

I am skeptical that a historical marker would be sufficient to put a visually impressive monument in context.  How do you explain all the good, bad and ugly all on a marker?  And you would have to stop, get out of your vehicle and read the marker while the monument is clearly visible every time you drive by.

It is somewhat akin to putting up the Confederate flag with a historic marker at the base to put it in context.  I agree that many sculptures are works of art, but suggest that Civil War “hero” monuments be moved to a battlefieldwhere visual context is much clearer, and the battlefield museum can tell the whole story.

Other Confederate monuments could be relocated to cemeteries, historic homes, art history museums or to a consolidated Civil War Park for statues and monuments that South Carolina localities want moved but not destroyed.

I’m not sure about allowing localities to decide the fate of monuments.  Look at the events in my local city of Charlottesville where the council voted to remove the statues and rename the parks.

—  George Graf, Palmyra, Va.

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One Comment

  1. I believe that, as a relatively young nation in the world (compare our history with that of Russia, Italy, England, France, the Netherlands, Indonesia, etc.), we should step back, and not be afraid of revisiting/rewriting our history to more accurately reflect what took place through the ages. What we now know about our country’s early growing pains, should be openly taught in classrooms, and doesn’t need to be so divisive, if it is incorporated into early learning textbooks, and elder generations are willing to give a bit. Considering the assault and violence, the adult, mature material our children currently are inundated with via standard prime-time media fare, to tell them the truth about America, is really not going to scar them by any means, let’s face it. Rewriting textbooks for tomorrow’s youth isn’t that big a deal, is it?

    They already know the nuts and bolts, we just need to acknowledge it for ourselves and for our nation’s well-being. For example, 1.) Native Americans were here, before western Europeans. 2.) African-Americans were brought here as slaves, due to European colonization of the African continent, and abused as property for over a hundred and fifty years as part of the antebellum economy pre-Civil War. 3.) Pilgrims escaped to America from England, Denmark, Norway, and Germany, because they were persecuted for their religious beliefs, and then they themselves, persecuted sexual, intelligent women as heretics, in the now-infamous Witch Trials of Salem, New England.

    These are just a few facts of our American history that have been left hanging loose, and there are others. Like the fact that Robert Smalls was the first African-American congressman elected five times right after the Civil War, who was a true American hero, but who’s name was erased from history during Jim Crow years. Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman, … the list goes on, and on, and on, and I think it is not too big a deal, nor do I think our youth are too stupid to handle learning new history.

    Do you?

    Are you all suggesting that it is too complicated for the next generation to learn history that was buried for more than a hundred years, by angry, fear-driven, racists, who lynched smart freedmen that were making more money than they were? I don’t think it is. I’m just learning a lot of it myself, and it’s not that hard for me to learn. I’m just sorry, I didn’t learn it when I was in school in Beaufort County back in 1977, when I should have been taught the truth back then, right?

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?

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