Recently the statues, plaques, and memorials to officers and soldiers of the confederacy of states that rebelled against the Union have surged into controversy. There are many who wish these icons removed from public spaces, arguing that the items honor the legacy and evils of slavery and those who defended race-based chattel slavery. Opposing arguments have been raised that to remove the
statuary and such is in effect ‘erasing history’ and that these memorials are not honoring the issues but the courage and bravery of the men who fought for their states,
Let’s set aside for a moment what the statues and such represent, not because the symbolism is unimportant but because for those who have already come of a conclusion about what they represent are already unlikely to change their opinions no matter the force of the arguments.
The question most people as is should the memorials stay or be removed, but I think there is another angle to approach the issue from.
How do we remember the past and give it the context it requires?
To my knowledge there are no memorials or icons honoring the end of slavery. We do not have a host of statues dedicated to the brave people who put their lives on the line to eradicate that evil practice. We have no solemn places where we atone for the millions enslaved and murdered.
Let us now rectify that. Let us now erect statues to the slaves, sculptures to celebrating the America Exodus, when a people were released from the bondage of a modern Pharaoh. Let us place each and every one of these next to an existing confederate memorial so that context will always be present.
You can get creative, perhaps simply listing with their statue the names of the slaves each confederate owned.
There can be no claim that history is being erased.
There can be no claim that an evil system is being honored.
There can only be an absolution for past sins, an honest appraisal of our shared history, and acceptance of what that means.
Of course if the idea of these statues and sculptures angers and offends you, then you might ask what exactly you want those traitorous statues are honoring.