“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history or denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of their own destruction.”
Sir William Wallace, 1281 A.D.
There has been an assault going on for quite some time on Confederate monuments and markers. The most alarming is what’s taking place in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney have taken it upon themselves to aggressively go after and do away with any reminder of the Confederacy, even though Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America for nearly all of the Civil War. I find this alarming because, even though the political climate has changed over the past century and a half, history should never be erased. It stands as a reminder to what happened in the past, and whether interpreted as good or bad, it is still a valuable part of American history. Germany intentionally has left what remains of old stalags as reminders of the terrible history it experienced under Nazism. I think America should do the same.
This brings to mind the recent desecration of Monument Avenue in Richmond. What used to be a beautiful area in the heart of the city, with its magnificent monuments, has utterly been destroyed. I visited Richmond when I attended the UDC Convention back in (I believe) 2011, and I thought the avenue was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, last year, Black Lives Matter was given free rein to desecrate the monuments, as well as buildings around them, by any and all means possible. They covered the monument bases with graffiti and were even allowed to chisel away at some of them. As far as I know, no arrests were ever made. What an atrocity, and shameful for the city of Richmond. I, for one, will never visit Richmond again.
It’s my understanding that Monument Avenue was on the National Historic Sites Register, and because of that, it should have been protected. But apparently not, since all of the magnificent statues have been taken down. The last one to be removed was that of General Robert E. Lee. The statue was even cut in half. They are considering giving the Robert E. Lee monument to the Black History Museum, which has said that they will melt the statue down and make it into something else. I can only imagine what that might be.
The Richmond City Council recently allocated $1.3 million to build a national slavery museum.
“The response can’t be to build back up Monument Avenue,” Hones said. “It must be to build back the antithesis of what was torn down. And the best thing to do is to become serious as a council and administration to tell the true story … of what’s in place in Virginia.”
The city of Richmond has received numerous offers for the monuments, which are being stored in a sewage facility. The matter will be decided on January 18, 2022.
The following is a list of groups who wish to obtain the monuments:
1. Liberty Hall Fife & Drums
2. Ratcliffe Foundation/Ellenbrook
3. Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation
4. VA Division – Sons of Confederate Veterans
5. Valentine Museum
6. United States of America Naval History & Heritage Command
7. Fontaine/Maury Society
8. JEB Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust
9. CSA II: The New Confederate States of America Inc. – Monument Establishment & Preservation Fund
10. Belmead on the James
11. Shannon Pritchard/Hickory Hill/Wickham Family
12. Sumter County SC Sons of Confederate Veterans
13. LAXArt Museum
14. Spotsylvania Historical Association
16 Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
17. Preserve America’s Battlefields
18. Private individual 1 – David Hinton
19. Private individual 2 – Michael Boccicchio
20. Private individual 3 – Olivia Tautkus
21. Private individual 4 – James Cochrane, Jr.
22. Private individual 5 – Austin Wylam
23. Liberty Hall Plantation
There is no submission from the Black History Museum, but it seems that they will receive legal ownership of most of the monuments and their bases. It also seems that the Valentine Museum will “partner” with the Black History Museum in gaining ownership of the monuments. However, the Valentine Museum has only submitted a request for the Valentine sculptured statue of Jefferson Davis.
I subscribe to Civil War Talk, and wanted to share some entries.
From Viper 21:
“City and state officials have reached an agreement to transfer ownership of the statue and pedestal of Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, which has also agreed to take possession of all the other Confederate memorials removed from Richmond since last year.
“Under this arrangement, Richmond’s Black History Museum would work in partnership with the Valentine museum — which has chronicled the city’s history for more than a century — and local community members to determine the fates of the stone and bronze symbols of the Confederacy.
“The deal requires approval by Richmond’s City Council. Mayor Levar Stoney — who hammered out some of the details with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) — said in a written statement that the arrangement enables the community to take a deliberate approach in reckoning with such divisive symbols.
“‘Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,’ Stoney said in the statement, obtained by The Washington Post … ‘They will take the time that is necessary to properly engage the public and ensure the thoughtful disposition of these artifacts.’”
Sgt. Cycom from L.A. summed it up: “The people that are loudest in calling for ‘unity’ and ‘inclusion’ are almost always projecting their own intolerance and inability to compromise. I hope these monuments remain so that I can take my family to see them in a few years. I pray history is preserved and not destroyed. Giving these monuments to people who will continue to desecrate them is disgusting, infuriating and despicable.”
As a side note, the majority of Richmond residents voted for the monuments to remain intact on Monument Avenue.