Since 1619 all the way to the end of the Civil War in 1865, chattel slavery prospered. Merrit Kennedy, a writer for NPR, says, “In 1857, the majority opinion stated that African Americans could not be considered citizens-and by extension the decision treated black people as property, not people.” Some slaves were even owned by many famous American leaders that most people learn about in history class. Many slaves underwent many horrors and atrocities. Having Confederate symbols and monuments for people who fought for slavery, in the heart of communities that are racially diverse can start many issues between white supremacists and people of color. Moving the monuments or symbols of confederacy out of the towns could help communities learn to overcome obstacles such as racism, violence, and discrimination.
The problem with having the confederate monuments up in communities is that the monuments may be offensive to people of color or descendants of slaves. Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans, wrote, “Some monuments may be so offensive to the local community that they’ll need to be removed. And certainly, they can serve as rallying places for white supremacists.” America’s dark history is forever intertwined with this great nation and will remain in the minds of many generations to come. Perhaps the monuments would serve the community better in museums as educational tools instead of tools of glorification.
Some people believe that tax dollars should be used for better situations then moving monuments of confederacy. Landrieu also writes, “They say that taxes be better spent trying to educate the public about the history behind the monuments. Respectfully, that’s not the point. I must consider the entire city. It’s my job to look forward, not simply to worship.” Having the monuments in the heart of a diverse town can cause many fights throughout the community. Many people of color read these monuments as a threatening message of racism and discrimination.
Moving these monuments to a museums could help better educate the world about America’s past. Landrieu says that “It won’t erase history. But it can begin a new chapter of New Orleans history by placing these monuments, and the history of cruel treatment they represent, in museums and other spaces where they can be viewed in an educational setting.” By moving these monuments to a museum, the monuments will be seen as educational and rather than being glorified, they will become reminders to all of our history. They will show us that we should not repeat the same mistakes again.