About time.Robert E. Lee, the general who committed treason against the United States in an effort to maintain the ability of White Southerners to own other human beings, no longer looms over Richmond. After a controversy that went on for years, Lee’s statue was removed Wednesday from Monument Avenue in the Virginia capital.
It was a vivid illustration of an important fact: Liberals, and particularly Black Americans, have pretty much won the debate over the Confederacy. Will there be a backlash? Probably. But in this one corner of our never-ending culture war, the fight is all but over...
it became impossible to argue that the Confederacy itself stood for something important to glorify when, above all, it stood for the enslavement of human beings. That then left the lamest argument of all, that to remove a statue is to destroy “history,” which we will supposedly be unable to remember unless it is cast in bronze.
But as even a child can understand, statues don’t just say “Here’s an important figure from history you should know about.” If that were the case there might be statues of Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden in your town square.
The Lee statue in Richmond dates to 1890, after the end of Reconstruction brought the first wave of Confederate statues being erected throughout the South. That was the front end of a period that saw a vicious and bloody reinstallation of white supremacy throughout the region, in which Jim Crow was solidified, the Ku Klux Klan was created, and Blacks were the targets of a decades-long campaign of terrorism.
This was the largest of the statues on Monument Ave, and all but one of the others have been removed.
This one is going into storage somewhere...