We Must Remove Shrines to White Supremacy From Public Property

The resurgence of white supremacy and the violence perpetrated by neo-Nazi terrorists in Charlottesville are painful reminders of how much work remains to challenge and defeat systems of hate and racial oppression in our nation.

As a Black woman living in a former slave state adorned with monuments to the Confederate cause, I believe that work requires us to confront our own history and ask: What message do we send when we chose to honor one part of history but not others?

The Confederacy sought to protect slavery, dissolve the Union, and preserve white supremacy. While Confederate armies ultimately failed to achieve those first two goals, the monuments erected in their memory years later under Jim Crow were and remain vile symbols of white supremacy and the terrorization of communities of color.

Shrines to white supremacy and racial violence denigrate my existence and that of millions of North Carolinians.

In my state of North Carolina, there are 90 different monuments to the Confederacy on public land — the second most of any state in the nation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. They stand outside our state capitol and our public universities. They greet visitors to courthouses across the state. They are central fixtures of public parks.

This is land that is meant for all members of the public. Yet there are no monuments to many of our other ancestors — to those who were enslaved, to abolitionists, to pro-Union North Carolinians, to the Black soldiers who fought and died to defeat the Confederacy. And, as Professor Timothy Tyson notes, there are no monuments commemorating “the interracial Reconstruction government of the 1860s, which gave us the North Carolina Constitution we still try to live under.”

What we choose to represent and honor in these spaces matters. Shrines to white supremacy and racial violence denigrate my existence and that of millions of North Carolinians. When we enter a courthouse or visit our state capitol and are greeted by monuments to slavery and white supremacy, it sends a clear message that our government endorses the oppression and inequality that they represent. And by doing so, there is only one thing we can take away from it: We are less valued as citizens.

That’s why earlier this week, the ACLU of North Carolina called for these monuments to come down once and for all.

Our governor, Roy Cooper, echoed our call and joined those demanding for the monuments to be removed. But while cities like New Orleans and Baltimore have done just that, North Carolina’s monuments remain protected under a 2015 law barring their removal. That law too must go.

The events of the last week have made it clearer than ever that we must confront our full history, acknowledge the shameful message these statues send, and take action to remove them.

But the work to undo white supremacy cannot end there. From voter suppression and inequitable educational resources, to mass incarceration, the tools of Jim Crow are still being deployed to attack the rights of Black and brown people across the nation. We must live up to the principles of liberty and justice for all by removing monuments and shrines to white supremacy and rooting out racial injustice throughout the land.

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Liberals suck

Can you believe the tripe coming out of this black woman's mouth? She is showing her ignorance but then again all Liberals are ignorant or they just hate America or probably both.

how about getting rid of the black supremacist like black lives matters which is nothing but a bunch of racist niggers running around like monkeys in the jungle terrorizing people.

Thank me very much!!

Anonymous

This comment just solidified the entire point of the article. While I'm not disagreeing that some members of BLM seem to have crossed the line in to "supremacy", I can't even come close to comparing it to the deep rooted ignorance of "white supremacy". In my opinion, "supremacy" in general is the problem. I would not consider the author of this article ignorant. The people in the south need to catch up to current times. Just because something was true in that area 200 years ago does not mean it needs to be true now. Being stuck in ancient history does not make you superior in any way - just pathetic.

Gary Miller

As Steve Bannon as noted. White Supremists, like you, are "Clowns" and your circus will not play well as long as freedom loving people stand strong and together.

Anonymous

How eloquent! You need a good hug and an intervention. You have to be carefully taught to hate and it takes a lot of energy and it ruins your life to be so tense...I bet that you don't like feeling the way you do, day in and day out. I hope that you will find courage to change your vision as your life will not get any better any time soon with such negative energy taking your smiles away.
I hope for you in many ways....

Jane Singleton

I agree with the other poster - your use of the "N" word only seems to prove her point - not defunct it. Also, your tone that you used. However, Gettysburg and some other sites have statues dedicated to the anti-slavery Nort (BTW they had more slave owning states than the south did -- 19 to the North -- adctually 4 were borderline neutral states) and 15 to the South which equaled out 15 to 15 -- I TRULY BELIEVE THEY NEED TO CREATE CONFEDERATE MUSEUMS IN EACH STATE -- PRIVATE DONATIONS - to house these statues and preserve history, Daughters of Confederacy, etc. have ancestors too andthese statues are paid for in part by private donations already -- INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY IS APPALLING AND DETRIMENTAL TO SOCIETY - HOWEVER, WE DO NOT WANT THERE WAS NO CIVIL WAR, LIKE THERE WAS NO HOLOCAUST TO TAKE PLACE (I SEE ALL CAPS BETTER AND AM NOT "SHOUTING" WHEN I TYPE THIS -- btw - Martin Luther King Museum and statue sits where?

at Jane

Martin Luther King Jrs statue is in Washington DC as well as several African American and Civil rights museums.

Confederate monuments, statuesand flags are terrorist propraganda. Just like ISIS flags, just like Nazi flags and just like British flags (yup look up our history).

Tear down all confederate monuments like the Russians tore down all communist monuments!

Anonymous

Comments like this show why we need the ACLU now more than ever.

Mnonymous

Was somebody talking. It seems as though we have a lack of communication due to ignorance and laziness. It seems as though because you refuse to work or don't have the ethic all you lazy losers poke in the phone because you have lack of trade or lack of pride...sorry crybaby. Either living off your parents girlfriends or government

Anonymous

Karen,

With all due respect, you failed to look at the historical context of these individuals. They were men of their times, and considered honorable men by the definition of their time. You, and many others, see the statues as memorials to the "cause" of the Confederacy but many others don't; they see it as tributes of men/soldiers who believed they had no other choice (during that time).

Are you suggesting the removal of Washington or Jefferson or Jackson because of the continued suppression of African Americans?

Anonymous

"The answer is that, yes, Jefferson was a slaveholder, Washington was a slaveholder, but the reason we memorialize them is not because of their slaveholding. We memorialize them because one wrote the Declaration of Independence, and one led the Continental Armies and basically formed the model for the presidency. And while their public memories should include the fact that they owned slaves—I think it should be pretty central to how we remember them—in terms of memorializing there is material for creating a broad narrative that everyone can buy into. That was basically the whole project of the musical Hamilton.

Lee is only famous because he led Confederate armies. If secession had never happened and the Confederacy had never come into existence, Lee would have lived his live and died as an obscure member of the United States military. You can’t untangle him from the Confederacy. And if you look at even a cursory history of the memorialization of the Confederacy, it all pops up in the 1890s and 1900s and 1910s, as Jim Crow was being codified. These statues were explicitly raised as symbols of Jim Crow and of white supremacy."

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/08/17/trump_s_comparison_of_...

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