• The Grey Squirrel

When and Where

I'm from Virginia and right now a lot of people in this state are all up in their feels about the removal of Confederate monuments, especially the ones in Richmond (the former capital of the Confederacy).

Many people are trying to claim that this is erasing history, but the truth is that ship sailed a long time ago, right around the time that these monuments were being erected. These monuments are more fantasy than history, the legend of the Lost Cause, and the War of Northern Aggression. They were propaganda used to glorify a society that never existed while ignoring the system of chattel slavery upon which the real one was built.

If we look at this timeline* of what else was going on at the time these memorials were being unveiled, we can see that the south was up to some seriously racists shenanigans like passing Jim Crow laws and disenfranchising black voters. To solidify the message of these laws, "black people should know their place," many of these monuments were placed in front of courthouses* as if to say, "Don't try to exercise your right to vote or seek justice here, because we are still loyal to the Confederacy."

The removal of these monuments gives us an opportunity to examine our real history instead of fighting over a fantasy. It's an uncomfortable history, which is why we usually skip from the Civil War to Civil Rights, however, if we are going to understand how we got here and how these monuments actually came to be, we need to look at this post-reconstruction era with clear eyes and a mind open to learning the real truth.

* each red dot represents a Confederate monument placed in front of a Virginia courthouse and the year it was erected

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