Here, we take a look at findings from the Kinder Institute’s State of Housing report in the context of Settegast, a historically Black neighborhood in northeast Houston. “It’s often forgotten that Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments,” said Jonathan Horn, the author of the Lee biography, “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington.”. Please check your inbox to confirm. through the gloom of defeat, Removal of Confederate monuments and memorials is an ongoing process in the United States since the 1960s. © 1996 - 2021 NewsHour Productions LLC. 6100 Main St. MS-208 They do not inspire unity. Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond. Confederate monuments are not teaching tools, they are monuments … “You think he’d come down in the camp that would say ‘remove the monuments,’” Horn posited. Leaving them in place only honors the Confederacy’s cause: To preserve the status quo and continue enslaving Black Americans. Lisa Desjardins. Despite their removal, people who live in or were born in states that had these laws — Texas among them — are more likely to make racial classification decisions that reflect the continued existence of those boundaries. They are designed to inspire emotion and recall a shared history. So, here we are, again. Numerous other Southern communities, large and small, are reconsidering the future of the Southern soldiers in marble and bronze that stand watch over their town squares and courthouses. Along Richmond, VA's manicured Monument Avenue, statues of Confederate leaders stand among pristine trees and a grassy mall.As of June 10, there is one less Confederate statue for passersby to see. An op-ed in the New Orleans Times-Picayune last week used the video to argue: “In the kindest reading, ‘Gone With the Wind’ is romanticized fiction. Houston, TX 77005-1892, Physical Address: Like the some 680 other monuments still scattered across the Confederate and border states, those in New Orleans were meant to reaffirm the nobility and legitimacy of the “Lost Cause” of Southern independence and justify efforts to roll back the challenges to white supremacy posed by emancipation and so-called Radical Reconstruction. Officials with Gettysburg National Military Park said they have no plans to remove any of the park's 1,300-plus monuments, markers or plaques. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts. Angry mobs are tearing down and defacing monuments across America. But underlying it all was one rationale: That the war had ended, and the South needed to move on and avoid more upheaval. Jenifer Bratter is an associate professor of sociology at Rice University and director of the Kinder Institute’s Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Culture. Robert E. Lee, who led the Army of Northern Virginia through the Civil War, opposed the construction of monuments commemorating the vanquished Confederacy. He swore allegiance to the Union and publicly decried southern separatism, whether militant or symbolic. We chose to let the moment pass. Here are some ways to address it. Most have been removed. She is a former Kinder Institute fellow. You know, you would think betraying your country and getting bodied for it hundreds of years ago would be enough to stop people from sympathizing with the Confederacy, but no… Last month, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond. In his writings, Lee cited multiple reasons for opposing such monuments, questioning the cost of a potential Stonewall Jackson monument, for example. Confederate monuments are just that, monuments, tributes to those who fought for the Confederacy. Kraft Hall worthy of their sires.”. The statue of Rice, who was a slave owner, is prominently located in the center of the school’ We see this in the higher levels of inequality between Blacks and whites in places where slavery was more concentrated. From frequent recurrences of police brutality and the widening gaps in access to opportunity, to the coronavirus’ outsized impact on communities of color, the invasive disease of racism has spread throughout the American system. ... Make … For now, the removal has been blocked by an injunction issued in one of several lawsuits. In all, more than 30 monuments and symbols to the Confederacy have been dedicated or rededicated since 2000, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. their lives, However, this option ignores the importance of placement. However, more is needed to address the systemic racism and institutional discrimination that is at the root of the issue. A group of Democratic state lawmakers is working to make this year’s Confederate Heroes Day the last. The … Rice University students are petitioning to have the statue of school founder William Marsh Rice removed from campus. In a 2016 report, the Southern Poverty Law Center said that the country’s more than 700 monuments were part of roughly 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces. Lee advocated protection of just one form of memorial: headstones in cemeteries. Before the war, Lee opposed secession, but once his native Virginia voted to leave the Union he declared he was honor-bound to fight for the Confederacy. To lavish praise on those who fought for the Confederacy and leave prominent monuments honoring their cause is to deny the brutal reality of the people who were enslaved. The momentum to remove Confederate memorials … Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Lisa Desjardins That’s where Confederate monuments fall short. He might just want to hide the history, to move on, rather than face these issues.”, Left: We are witnessing the removal and, in some cases, outright toppling of statues commemorating the Confederacy. From Charlottesville, Va., to New Orleans, La., the removal of Confederate statues from public spaces and the debates over their removal are making national news. No one puts a monument up to Washington or Jefferson to promote slavery. s academic quad. Horn leaned toward yes, though he noted that it’s impossible to compare Lee’s views in the 1860s with the situation today. This column has been updated to correct the … “Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker,” Horn said. “All I think that can now be done,” he wrote in 1866, “is … to protect the graves [and] mark the last resting places of those who have fallen…”. Anti-miscegenation laws legalized racial boundaries, but were abolished in 1967. The retired Confederate leader, a West Point graduate, was influenced by his knowledge of history. But if we remove them outright, we run the risk of both forgetting the role they played and why their removal was called for in the first place. They voice concern over a loss of heritage and argue that removing a monument accomplishes nothing. to the principles of right, If white people truly mean well, they must make an unflinching commitment to the tough, unpleasant and honest work of authentic change. Houston, TX 77005-1892. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have made monuments to the Confederate commanding general a flashpoint — at times marching to keep them standing. The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was hauled down by protesters in Richmond, Va., the old capital of the slave South, within hours of Trump embracing the symbols of the Confederacy. They offer comfort to some (white Southerners who view the confederacy as a key part of their heritage), but they exclude (white non-Southerners) and outright reject (Black Americans) others. Note to our readers: We are no longer giving away free PDFs of Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture by Karen L. Cox and Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War by William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske. In “Prophetic City,” Stephen Klineberg shows us where change has taken Houston and where it’s likely to take the nation. The monuments go up because, without Washington, there likely would not have been an American nation. But we want to close with a cautionary reminder: Ultimately, the issue of monuments and names is a symbolic one. More than merely testimonies to the past, the division and inequality that slavery began remains steadfastly part of our day-to-day. by the simple manhood of Monumental changes require removing monuments to the Confederacy. Even Lee, as cruel and brutal as we now know him to have been, knew there should be no monuments to him, or to anyone of the Confederacy which had been defeated on the field of battle. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman. Rice University the virtues and become even to the heroism of death In the past month, new and greater focus has been placed on the need to address economic, environmental, educational and health care inequalities related to race in the U.S. For many years, systemic racism has limited access to housing as well. At the root of the problem is racism. Research suggests otherwise. Erecting new statues or replacing names on buildings serves to expand who we honor and how we see our history. “But he didn’t want a cult of personality for the South.”. Recent evidence shows that placing monuments within a museum designed to educate the public on their racist legacy allows the audience to view them as a signal of the work that still needs to be done. Leaving them where they stand suggests that they — and the history they represent — are important. Like the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C., an apt memorial for the Confederacy is a scar, not an heroic statue. It was motivated by a desire to preserve the status quo and continue enslaving Black Americans. He was a slave owner who some say was cruel and a general who fought to preserve the institution. In fact, they celebrate rebellion. We cannot afford to do that again. Research demonstrates this relationship for poverty, school segregation, use of the death penalty, health outcomes and more. Removing a monument or renaming a building are steps toward using symbols that better reflect shared values of equity and inclusion. Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else. Raw emotions and a sharp political divide were revealed by an unsuccessful attempt in the 2019 session to make it far more difficult to remove monuments to the Confederacy … Monuments to the Confederacy must come down. California once had far more Confederate monuments and place names than any state outside the South. Removing them and doing nothing more masks the underlying systemic racism that supported their initial placement on public property. But these monuments are tied to a divisive history and the denial of the Black American experience. 6100 Main Street, Suite 305 Mailing Address: Finally, if that were not enough, there is even evidence that Confederate monuments are related to higher levels of Black-white inequality. Some places heeded that call — the Confederate battle flag flying over the SC state capitol came down; monuments in Baltimore were contextualized and later removed — but most ignored it. Your observations should be typed, double-spaced with correct spelling and proper sentence structure, and approximately three-four pages in length. They put up monuments to T.J. because of the Declaration of Independence, which every group has used to make their place in American society. posterity to see that by their sublime courage If you would like to order copies of the print editions, visit upress.ufl.edu. And not just Confederate monuments. and unspeakable sacrifices, It was meant to praise those who fought for the Confederate cause. Heather O’Connell is a professor of sociology at Louisiana State University. All Rights Reserved. It is clear that action is needed to address our public landscape. Still, some may argue that the past is the past and it has no bearing on today. Lee himself was conflicted about the core issues of his day. “He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive.”, Construction crews prepare a monument of Robert E. Lee, who was a general in the Confederate Army, for removal in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 19, 2017. The Battle Over Confederate Monuments in New Orleans, The New Yorker Explore our featured collection, Reconstruction and the Fragility of Democracy , to engage your students in a discussion about the legacies of slavery and Reconstruction and the ideas surrounding citizenship and democracy in the United States today. Virginia State Troopers stand under a statue of Robert E. Lee before the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. As the deaths of black men and women resulting from police violence continues in America, protestors in cities large and small are calling for the end of systemic inequalities and police brutality. We see this again when thinking more broadly about the ways we understand race and identity. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/robert-e-lee-opposed-confederate-monuments, “It’s often forgotten that Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments.”, The shifting history of Confederate monuments, WATCH: Protesters pull down Confederate statue in North Carolina, After Charlottesville rally, these U.S. cities say they’ll take down their Confederate statues. Why talk about this at all? But the Confederate general Robert E. Lee himself never wanted such monuments … But he personally described slavery as a “moral and political evil” that should end. For now, the removal has been blocked by an injunction issued in one of several lawsuits. Answer the following question using at least THREE SOURCES. Academics and writers vigorously debate his sentiments and strengths, but historians seem to agree on Lee’s views about memorials. Five years ago, in the wake of the racially motivated mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that left eight African American parishioners dead, we saw similar calls to action. Our history matters, and the way that we remember the Confederacy is an important part of that history. Subscribe to the Urban Edge to be notified when new stories are published. A compromise proposes adding plaques to contextualize the monuments and explain their origins. Why does the removal of Confederate monuments remain in public conversation? Last month, Virginia Gov. There are many sides to this debate, and a corresponding list of actions to take. Removed California a priceless heritage of Honor.”, “It is a duty we owe to A … A statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army, is seen in the Crypt of the Capitol in Washington. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have protested the removal of Confederate monuments. “I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”, WATCH:The shifting history of Confederate monuments. Photo by by Dean Hinnant / Unsplash. “As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated,” Lee wrote of an 1866 proposal, “my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; [and] of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”. “I don’t think that means he would have felt good about the people who fought for the Confederacy being completely forgotten,” Cobb added. Yet in Richmond, which has no shortage of public memorials to defenders of white supremacy, there has been comparatively little outcry. Learn more about Friends of the NewsHour. They are symbols of who we — as a society — are. Thank you. Returning to a familiar and difficult conversation. Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work. The Make It Right Project has begun working with local activists, academics and citizen journalists in Denton, Texas, to take down the town’s Confederate monument.. Erected in 1918 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the marker has now stood for a century on the grounds of the county court. But while he was alive, Lee stressed his belief that the country should move past the war. An experimental study examining voting behavior further demonstrates that there are real consequences to keeping Confederate symbols in public spaces: people who were primed — or subconsciously saw — a Confederate battle flag reported being less willing to vote for Barack Obama and higher levels of anti-Black attitudes. No amount of words can alter the signal that is sent by these monuments being positioned in a place of prominence. The statue is featured prominently on the Rice campus. Lee died in 1870, just five years after the Civil War ended, contributing to his rise as a romantic symbol of the “lost cause” for some white southerners. to the Confederacy? In Centreville, Alabama, the United Daughters of the Confederacy described their “Confederate heroes” using the following text: “These were men who Historians are clear on the fact that the Civil War was not motivated by states’ rights. Of the more than 1503 public monuments and memorials to the Confederacy, more than 718 are monuments and statues. Is it appropriate for cities/states to publicly display monuments (flags, statues, etc.) Photo by by Dean Hinnant / Unsplash. Monuments dedicated to this historical moment — the year we came together during a global pandemic to fight for equality, for life — could be a truly inspirational and uniting public symbol. Many municipalities in the United States have removed monuments and memorials on public property dedicated to the Confederate States of America (CSA), and some, such as Silent Sam in North Carolina, have been torn down by protestors. Would Lee have opposed his own monument today? True healing will begin only when the pressure of racist monuments is removed from African Americans' necks. Nearly 300 monuments and statues are in Georgia, Virginia, or North Carolina. This article was produced by Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.. by their strict adherence But Lee himself never wanted such monuments built. Big statues in prominent public spaces erected to make a point about the supposed glories of the Confederacy should come down and be transferred elsewhere (ideally to museums or battlefields). Follow the Kinder Institute on social media. As Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center puts it: “The Daughters have done more with monuments, textbooks, and other propaganda to bolster the image of the Confederacy … At the center of the “Unite the Right” rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville last weekend was a protest of the city’s plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. The fact is, if we can’t remove a monument, how are we going to tackle bigger changes? “But you have to ask why [he would remove them]. Some demand the Confederate monuments remain. Opinion Confederate Monuments Slavery America said goodbye and good riddance this month to yet another monument glorifying the Confederacy and lying about history on public grounds. They make no distinction between Confederate and Union, abolitionist and pro-slavery, 15th-century figures and 20th. Rather than merely coinciding with Jim Crow laws or pushback against civil rights progress, the act of erecting monuments to the Confederacy was another plank in the platform to promote white supremacy and rewrite history. However, this time we carry even more baggage because we chose not to make changes five years ago. The United Daughters of the Confederacy were instrumental in … Some want them to remain, claiming they are part of their heritage. Subscribe to ‘Here's the Deal,’ our politics newsletter. Op-Ed: California removes almost all of its Confederacy … Removal may be symbolic, but it can jump-start a conversation and help us move forward on structural change. 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