Confederacy Is DEAD

Confederacy Is DEAD

Jazmyn Davis , News Editor

The Charlottesville march sprouted from one conflict that should have been eliminated years ago: the eradication of Confederate statues.  The symbolism demonstrated through these statues is white supremacy. This has weighed heavily on African-American citizens, driving them to tear down the never ending wall. 

Confederate statues never should have been a staple in American society, for it belittles African-Americans while recounting pain from the past.

Formed in 1861, the Confederate States of America, which included Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and those that border them, split from the union and then migrated to the North, simply because they believed in their “right” to own slaves.

As the Confederate States were on the rise, statues of public figures were built to further a white supremacist future. During this time, African-Americans did not have the “right” to speak up for what they believed in, which is why the statues remained standing.

It wasn’t until four years later that slavery was finally “abolished”, in spite of this newfound “freedom”, African-Americans were still relegated to second-class citizenship. Black and white people were still not able to coexist with one another without the majority of white people thinking that African-Americans were inferior to them.

Today, African -Americans have developed a voice of their own, thanks to activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and the brave students of Little Rock. However, in 2017, much has not changed. If anything, we have repeated history continuously.

With the Confederate statues, which represent slavery, remaining it allows white supremacists to advocate their thoughts of their “believed superiority”. After all this time, “blacks” and “whites” are not able to coexist as equals. How is it that we have all witnessed and learned about the struggles of the past, but allow the never-ending cycle of racial tensions between “blacks” and “whites”  to continue?

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “comprehensive study of Confederate statues and monuments” clearly shows the spikes in the construction of Confederate monuments twice during the 20th century.



A portion of Southern Poverty Law Center graph.

The early 1900s were a time where Jim Crow laws were beginning to be enacted by states to disenfranchise African or Black Americans. During the 1950s and 60s, the Civil Rights Movement was executed” by African Americans to push back on segregation that was making them “separate, but equal.”

Confederate statues were erected during these times to purposefully send a robust message to African or Black Americans, who walked in the shadows of those who claimed to be superior.

Many may say that there is no message behind the statues, that they are a part of “American” history; but, if there was never a hidden motive with the erection of the Confederate statues, how can you explain the establishment of these “monuments” around these times?

An interview conducted by the Southern Public Radio with James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, brings more insight to this topic.

Grossman asks, “why would you put a statue of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson in 1948 in Baltimore,” if these statues were not put up to intentionally send a message.  

The Confederate statues that have just been brought down, like the four in New Orleans, were out of step with a modern city. Today, we should be embracing people of all races, while acknowledging that New Orleans was and will play a huge part in American history, as it was once one of the biggest slave markets in America.

Although this decision withstood challenges in court, New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with other city leaders decided to take down the monuments in 2015.

Landrieu believes that the statues were and still do stand as “symbols of white supremacy”.

Those who oppose this argument, believe that removing the monuments will encourage people to rewrite history and to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

Though insignificant, many things have changed since the statues were erected, but it is clear that the mindset of those from the past has conquered the minds of those today.

With the the march of Charlottesville and the malicious intent of the white supremacist’s protest on the University of Virginia’s campus, pure hatred and bigotry has revisited and come into society’s peripheral.

What is the point of learning about the history that affects those around us, if we are still going to allow it to impact today’s society in the same manner?

If one is allowed to outwardly attack people with phrases like “we will kill these people if we have to,” then what change has really been made? If this is the result of statues coming down, then it is a must that they are removed as it heavily represents the oppression of minority groups in this country.

The Confederate statues should have never had an influence on society, however, the past cannot be changed. It is time to focus on the now and how change can be enacted.  

It is time for a new beginning.