Yesterday a friend sent me a Resolution passed by the Republican Party of nearby Lauderdale County. Here are some excerpts for your Saturday morning reading: (full text below)
“The Lauderdale County Monument to the men of the County who served in the Confederate Army in the War between the States 1861-1865 fought against oppressive taxation and for states’ rights in an army that included African-Americans in support and combat roles, was dedicated in 1903 and has stood in front of the county courthouse for 117 years.”
“We are urging the Lauderdale County Commission and Florence City Council to honor their oaths of office and follow the law! We are also calling on all of our elected officials to declare their position on the matter,”
I too am calling on public officials to declare their position on the monument in Madison County. This resolution, which passed unanimously, is seriously flawed and shows that they have not in fact read and studied the history even though they apparently think they have. They even refused to call it The Civil War but instead use the worn out Lost Cause phrase “war between the states”. They are clearly Lost Cause believers and apologists for the Confederacy, an uprising based in our own state that sought to overthrow the government of the United States.
Saying that the Confederacy was about “states rights” is like saying Black Lives Matter is about Health Care. The confederacy was a white supremacist movement lead by people who wrongly believed blacks were not fully human and rightly believed their economic systems would collapse without free labor.
I have written extensively about this in the past but it is important to repeat that the war was absolutely about slavery and the South’s right to continue a system of oppression and brutality. The economic structure of the South was based on the use of black families as farm equipment and personal property. The South asserted that it was their state’s right to determine the justice of this practice and no northerner had the right to interfere.
For more context, read The Cornerstone Speech from Alexander Stephens. Watch Ken Burns short film on Confederate Monuments and, here’s a new idea, ask a black friend what they think of them. As Burns said in his film “they are symbols of institutionalized racism in our culture” and have no place in Civil Society.
For me, they are best moved and not destroyed. Move them to a museum where they are placed in context with other now better-understood symbols from our troubled past. No one is seeking to erase anything or destroy anything. The request is that these statues cease to publically venerate the “principals on which the Confederacy was founded” (from the base of the HSV statue).