The removal of Confederate monuments from our cities and gathering spots is necessary for our country to move forward into a new era, ditching a history of pain, anger, and hatred from the present and putting it right where it belongs. These monuments of the Civil War, no matter what their intended purpose may be, have become havens for the far-right, subjugation of minority groups, and false narratives of the truth of the Civil War. These monuments also tend to be the ground zero of many large, terrible protests and riots, such as the “At Ready” monument in Charlottesville, which hosted the “Unite the Right” rally, which became legal. While it is good to hold protest, and it is legal under our Constitution, the ultimate choice to remove said monuments is up to the local municipalities who own the area.
Going back to the “At Ready” statue of Charlottesville, Virginia, despite the protests against its removal several years ago, it was still elected (and paid for) by the city to me safely removed and transported to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation, a group which specializes in history. These institutions are where these monuments belong. Public grounds and parks are inappropriate to hold them due to their connotations and connections to the hatred and disgust our nation has faced, and continues facing through many forms of racism and bigotry. Personally, however, I can feel lenient to certain memorials towards the South, at least based on intention. From my understanding of the monument production of Confederate memorials in the south, there were two main groups that we still see today. The statues and memorials both paid and made by Confederate veterans soon after the war’s close. These tend to depict major generals, such as Robert E. Lee, and the intention was for memorial of the dead and fallen, or of the Triumphs of the generals. The other group consists of those made in later reconstruction, and in the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan was at its strongest. These monuments were paid for by foundations such as the Daughters of the Confederacy or other private means. These groups used the monuments as another front to push the absolute lies and treachery of “The Lost Cause,” a romanticization of the Confederacy during the Civil War. These monuments were also used as scare tactics against the segregated blacks of their communities, to keep them from power or voting. No matter which “group” they may belong to, nor their intention, modern times have twisted, corrupted, or continued these messages of hatred, and they must be stopped.