Kudos to Adam Bakst for his article on Civil War monuments (“Civil War monument’s symbolism cuts both ways,” July 18).
I have lived in Greenwood for almost 13 years and have always had a very bad feeling when I pass that monument on the Leflore County Courthouse lawn, which I am obliged to do if I want to renew my car tags, register to vote, check on real estate taxes, present myself for jury duty, attend a Board of Supervisors meeting, etc. (Or I could take the back entrance, I guess, to avoid that feeling — like African Americans used to have to do in other “white” establishments during Jim Crow.)
I am “white” and not from the South. But what is curious to me is how that monument can be said to represent “Southern heritage.” Is Southern heritage only “white”? That monument has nothing to do with the positive heritage of African Americans in the South and the many things they have contributed to the South and to the United States.
This state is doing its best to draw tourists through blues music, Southern cooking (much of it based on African dishes and plants) and the Civil Rights Trail. Take away African Americans from that tourist promotion, and you wouldn’t have much left — except maybe plantation houses, built by African American enslaved people. So is “Southern heritage” only what white folks have contributed?
And think about it. Having this slab at the entrance to the courthouse where people enter to get justice and engage in other civil responsibilities, what does that say to over half of our population?
The Confederacy fought to hold on to slavery — just read the justifications for secession promulgated by Southern states, including Mississippi. Is that the Southern value that supporters of this monument are holding up?
People from outside the South lost family members fighting to keep the union together and, for some, to abolish slavery. I am curious how many monuments were created outside the South to those fallen soldiers after that disastrous civil war.