While the debate surrounding slavery and Confederate memorials provides an opportunity for better understanding the complexity of America’s racial history, the current, at times violent, fixation on the removal of Civil War monuments is a muddle of varying criteria. One of the major requirements of removal of monuments appears to be convenience rather than racial history. It is worth examining these memorials. Rather than just focusing on erasing history, however, we should instead seek to establish monuments celebrating or memorializing black history, while simultaneously qualifying some existing monuments. A major risk of the monument destruction movement is the undermining of the great heroes of our nation for the sole reason that their moralities do not accord with our present-day views. More nuance is needed.

But first, some history. Memorialization by the naming of...


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