I live in a community where every Friday a few gather for “Happy Hour”. I moved here eight years ago, my first Friday in residence I went to this event; immediately I was questioned about my southern roots, my accent, my beliefs in the Civil War; and if I owned a confederate flag? My answers were my ancestors were land owners without slaves, however, my roots also lay with my Native American ancestor whom were drove from their ancestral lands by “white men, want to discuss that! Of course not! My accent after 47 years was not something that I tried to keep or lose; it was part of my being, my roots and culture. I did have ancestors who fought in the Civil War, they fought for what they believed right, that was about 150 years ago, and I had no say into their decisions, why am I being judged now for the actions of others. If someone stole from you, would it be your belief that your four or five great-grandchildren be allow to put a claim to what their ancestors owned today? The Confederate Flag as people like to call it is actually the “Stars and Bars”, my answer was no I do not own that flag and if I did I would not fly it, but I did not believe in the Vietnam war either should I protest the flying of the American flag. I believe the entire Civil War was like wars and conflicts that have followed it, political started and ended, scripted, costing too many lives. Eight years later with all new people around the Happy Hour table the same questions were ask of me. I did have an answer for them.
I am a Southerner and an American citizen by birth; I am an individual that believes in voting for the “best” individual for the political job that they are running for at the time, no matter their political party. I have no religious affiliations, yet, I believe in a “higher power”, I find some things in all religions that I can integrate into my life. I believe that one has to forgive the wrongs others have “done to them” in order to move forward in life. I also believe that one has to “forget”; how can we know where we are going if we do not know, where we have come from or what life that we have lived. With that being said, yes, I am against the Civil War Memorials being removed!
I understand the concept of such defamation, but how long must the South and born Southerners pay for the decision to pull out of the Union. Was it a good choice, no! Did they start a war that they could not win, yes! The South had cotton and that was it. They went up against the Union, which had all the resources to win; the South had no means to manufacture what they needed to win. It did not take long for them to realize that they were cut off from such.
What they were rich in was the pride and the belief that they had to right to govern their own land. Was slavery wrong, absolutely? Do I have ancestors who were slaveholders, “NO”, but I am being questioned on many levels because I am a Southerner born one hundred years later!
However, the Northern states were no better than the south in their ownership of slaves. Southerners did not create slavery; The First Legal Slave-owner in America was a black man Anthony Johnson. Whites could not legally hold a black servant as a chattel slave until 1670. Anthony Johnson was the first prominent landholder in the English colonies. With that being said…many of our presidents owned slaves.
George Washington owned 317 slaves; he was a major slaveholder before, during, and after his presidency. Thomas Jefferson owned 600, and it is believed that he fathered multiple slave children with his quadroon slave Sally Heming’s, the half-sister of his late wife Martha Wayles Skelton. James Madison owned approximately 100 slaves. James Monroe owned 75, while Andrew Jackson owned 200; Martin Van Buren only 1. William Henry Harrison 11; John Tyler 70; James Polk 25; Zachary Taylor 150; Andrew Johnson 8; Ulysses S. Grant 1;
Why must we remove these monuments, they represent history, and we cannot change history, I wanted to ask the question, it has been almost 150 years since the Civil War, when will those born afterwards quit being held responsible for what their ancestors did? I don’t expect to be given reparation for the white man stealing the land of my Native American ancestors. You can destroy all the monuments about the Southern states in the Civil War that you want; again, it does not change history. My generation protested the Vietnam War, and those who fought in that war was treated like criminals when they returned; no recognition for their service. Should we now start a process to remove the Vietnam War Memorial, ”NO”! Just because I did not believe in that war does not mean that I want the memorial torn down, when I was given the opportunity to go to D.C. and visit the memorial I wept like a child at the loss of so many . Why are these now so offensive when they have stood for some over 100 years? I note a few statue removals below:
In Austin, Texas, the statues of four people with ties to the Confederacy – Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnson, John H. Reagan and former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh wanted to move “quickly and quietly” to take down four Confederate statues or monuments – statues of Lee and Thomas, J. “Stonewall” Jackson and monuments for Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, and Confederate Women.
In Brooklyn, N.Y. Plaques honoring Lee were removed from an Episcopal church’s property and the governor called on the Army to remove the names of Lee and another Confederate general from the streets around a nearby fort.
In Dallas, Texas, a statue of Robert E. Lee, was removed from Robert E. Lee Park, which was also named in honor of the Confederate general, it had stood in Lee Park for 81 years. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the park to Lee in 1936 during a renaming ceremony of the park.
In Chapel Hill, N.C., protesters toppled the “Silent Sam” statue that has stood on the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus since 1913.
In Durham, N.C., protesters associated with the Workers World party toppled a nearly-century old statue of a Confederate soldier.
In Gainesville, Fla., a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the removal of a monument to Confederate soldiers known locally as “Old Joe” that stood in front a building in downtown Gainesville for 113 years.
Two 130-year-old Confederate statues were removed from downtown Lexington, Ky. Lexington used private funds to take the statues, of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and John Breckinridge, a former U.S. Vice President and the last Confederate Secretary of War.
In Madison, Wis., a neighboring town close to me a plaque honoring Confederate soldiers was removed from a cemetery. “The Civil War was an act of insurrection and treason and a defense of the deplorable practice of slavery,” said Mayor Paul Soglin in a statement. “The monuments in question were connected to that action and we do not need them on city property.” He has protested for Civil Rights for over 50 years, why does he feel the need to hop on the bandwagon now. For votes?
Last but not least, the Robert E. Lee House. At the start of the war, Lee and his family headed south, leaving Arlington House, and they did not reclaim their property after the War. The federal government seized the estate (now known as Arlington National Cemetery) and used it for military graves for thousands of fallen Union soldiers, possibly to prevent Lee from ever returning home. In addition, many honorable soldiers since. The Lee family residence is now managed by the National Park Service as Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, and is open to the public for tours. Now, when it makes a difference in what some want the usage of property is appropriate. We all know is that the government would not allow Arlington cemetery to be plowed under even though it was the land owned by a slave owner. Moreover, Arlington House makes money!
All this created by going to Happy Hour with a bunch of old people. Nonetheless, it was written long after that glass of wine took its course. Today, I made practice of my “Freedom of Speech”.