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jerryking : racial_segregation   7

Confederate Memorials as Instruments of Racial Terror - The New York Times
JULY 24, 2015 | NYT | By BRENT STAPLES.

In the wake of the Charleston massacre, for example, the parks and recreation board of Birmingham, Ala., voted to explore a proposal that would remove a 52-foot Confederate memorial from the entrance of a prominent park and place it with a Confederate heritage group.

Not all monuments warrant that kind of challenge. But those honoring the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest deserve the backlash they have generated. Forrest presided over the 1864 massacre of Union soldiers, many of them black, at Fort Pillow in Tennessee. He was also a prominent slave trader and served as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Apologists argue that his involvement with the Klan was unimportant because he later adopted more enlightened views. But as the Forrest biographer Jack Hurst writes, by lending his name to the K.K.K. even temporarily, the general accelerated its development. “As the Klan’s first national leader,” Mr. Hurst writes, “he became the Lost Cause’s avenging angel, galvanizing a loose collection of boyish secret social clubs into a reactionary instrument of terror still feared today.”....Critics predictably condemn these efforts as bad-faith attempts to rewrite history. But what’s happening is that communities that were once bound and gagged on this issue are now free to contest a version of history that was created to reinforce racial subjugation.

They are reflecting on how to honor history — including the neglected history of African-Americans — and rightly deciding that some figures who were enshrined as heroes in the past do not deserve to be valorized in public places.
the_South  KKK  Confederacy  terrorism  white_supremacy  history  symbolism  race  African-Americans  Charleston_shootings  Reconstruction  race_relations  racial_discrimination  racial_segregation  racism  violence  Jim_Crow  race-baiting 
july 2015 by jerryking

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