02 April 2016

A UVA Student Weighs in on the Lee Statue


The news story leads off with: 

Virginia Social Justice Warriors Want to Tear Down Robert E. Lee Statue
The perpetually offended are at the gate once again, trying to dismantle culture, education, and the very fabric of history. This time their target is the Robert E. Lee statue in the Lee Park of Charlottesville, Virginia . . .  
University of Virginia student Rob Shimshock then writes, in part:
. . . moving the statue to a museum diminishes the statue’s visibility and is thus a subtle, insidious form of censorship and historical revisionism.  Fewer people will visit the museum than walk or drive past the park. Fewer people will learn the vital history of Robert E. Lee, both “good” and “bad.”
Of course. More here

4 comments:

Eddie said...

To speak positively of any part of this southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity -- an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip young white southerners, and arguably black southerners as well, of their heritage, and therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame. Still, we may doubt that many young southerners believe that Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, John C. Calhoun and James Henry Thornwell, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were other than honorable men. It is one thing to silence people, another to convince them. And to silence them on matters central to their self-respect and dignity is to play a dangerous game -- to build up in them harsh resentments that, sooner or later, are likely to explode and bring out their worst.

Recall that great speech by Martin Luther King in which he evoked a vision of the descendants of slaves and slaveholders, sitting together on the hills of Georgia as southern brothers. That vision will be realized when, and only when, those descendants, black and white, can meet with mutual respect and appreciation for the greatness, as well as the evil, that has gone into the making of the South. Black Americans have good reason to protest vehemently against the disgraceful way in which their history has been taught or, worse, ignored, and to demand a record of the nobility and heroism of the black struggle for freedom and justice. But that record dare not include the falsification or obliteration of the noble and heroic features of the white South. To teach the one without the other is to invite deepening racial animosity and murderous conflict, not merely in the South but in the North. For it is worth noting that our most vicious urban explosions are occurring in the "progressive" North and on the West Coast, not in the "bigoted" and "reactionary" South.

Eugene Genovese

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Eddie - I've never taken part in any of these "protests" for (or against) monuments of any kind, though I oppose their removal and have commented extensively on it. What I have done, however, is to help fund and write the text for 2 other monuments here in Virginia - both involving the history of African-Americans. That, in my opinion, is the way to address the slighting of black history in America. Build up, not tear down. That is a POSITIVE action and has far better long term impact than does the NEGATIVE action we're seeing prompted, in large measure, by activist historians on a moral crusade.

Eddie said...

I agree with building up and not tearing down. Removing the statues and monuments whjich a large portion of the population still recognizes and honors serves only to increase divisiveness and animosity.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"only to increase divisiveness and animosity."

Yes and sadly, I believe that is by design.