Q: Why rename local schools, streets, buildings, or remove monuments? Doesn’t this “erase” history?

A: There is a lot to unpack here. The concern that history is actively being erased is especially interesting considering the history we know to be true is one-sided. The history we were taught did not include the successful reconstruction after the Civil War. The history we were taught did not include the Black Wall Street massacre in Tulsa Oklahoma. Large amounts of American history to include the experiences of Black Americans, Native Americans, and people of color were (and still currently are) intentionally excluded from textbooks and curriculum taught in public and private schools throughout all 50 states. We must ask ourselves why this occurred in the first place and why it is still happening.

It is also extremely important to note that there were two spikes in the construction of Confederate monuments. The first between the end of the 1800s and 1921. The second spike was between 1947 and 1968. It’s important to note that reconstruction post Civil War was successful. There were over 2,000 Black elected officials. Black- owned businesses were taking root and flourishing. By 1876 there were 125,000 registered Black voters in Louisiana. In 1878 that number dropped to 5,000.

In 1921, the Black Wall Street in Tulsa was one of the most prosperous communities in the U.S. It was burned to the ground by white supremacists. Over 300 Black Americans died.

Theodore G. Bilbo was a Mississippi senator from 1934-1947. He actively led a charge to suppress Black registration and voting. “You and I know what’s the best thing to keep the [racial slur] from voting. You do it the night before the election.”

In 1948, South Carolina politician Strom Thurmond ran for president as a “Dixiecrat” (States Rights Democratic Party). The [Confederate] flag is reborn as an emblem of this party. “We stand for the segregation of the races.”

In 1951, Roy Harris of the Augusta [Georgia] Courier said, “The Confederate flag is coming to mean something to everybody now. It means the Southern cause. It means the heart throbs of the people of the South. It is becoming the symbol of the white race and the cost of the white people. The Confederate flag means segregation.”

And then there is this: Historian James Grossman said Confederate names should be changed and statues of Confederate generals moved to museums, but the same should not extend to those just because they owned slaves.  “A statue of Jefferson is a monument to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, although Jefferson was a flawed hero. A monument to Stonewall Jackson or Robert E. Lee is a monument to the cause of the Confederacy,” said Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association.

“What matters is what are you commemorating. When you put up a statue, you’re saying these are the values of our community,” he said.

Are these the values of our community?

Julia Young resides in Stephens City and is a candidate for Town Council.

(12) comments

councilwomanyoung

I appreciate all of you that have taken the time to read and respond ! My platform is based on community action, accountability, and accessibility! Let’s connect further! You can find my official social media accounts at any of the links below! I look forward to continuing the discussion about how to effectively improve and evolve our community!

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Jason Murray

Thank you for this eloquent presentation of inconvenient facts, that so succinctly discredits those who would cry about "erasing history", as an unsubtle ploy to preserve the lost cause revisionists' veneration of racist traitors in our public spaces. There is no doubt that what pro-confederate heritage groups seek to commemorate is a legacy of oppression and dominance built upon a heinous foundation of white supremacy. They seek to preserve and celebrate their undeserved and unacknowledged multi-generational privilege to be treated with deference on the basis of their skin color while kneeling on the necks of others to obtain it.

councilwomanyoung

Thank you for your comment Jason. I find that there is much that is misunderstood, and when we truly analyze the history folks are staunchly protecting we must be honest with the findings. Our history is flawed. It is time to educate ourselves fully, and without bias! The information is out there, it is up to us to do the work!

Eredmon

I commend Ms. Young for her commentary. To be complete, it deserves comment also about how change should be accomplished. We pride our free country to be one of law, order and change through the ballot box, not one of demand via intimidation and violence. We now see politicians and corporations taking a knee out of fear. That is not the American way.

Spock Here

Who one earth is "taking a knee out of fear"? Evolving and changing is the American way.

councilwomanyoung

I agree. Growth & evolution are key here. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Spock Here

Yes!

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

Times change. People change. Beliefs change. We would probably not put up a statue of someone that folks 300 years ago would have thought fitting.

shinyhappypeople

Excellent! Filled with facts that can be corroborated rather than Lost Cause ramblings. Bravo Julia!!! Very well said.

councilwomanyoung

Thank you! My platform is based on community action, accountability, and accessibility! Let’s connect further! You can find my official social media accounts at any of the links below! I look forward to continuing the discussion about how to effectively improve and evolve our community!

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Instagram: https://instagram.com/councilwomanyoung

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Bryan.the.Nuri

Well said

councilwomanyoung

Thank you Bryan! You can connect with my campaign at any of the links posted below!

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