Tearing down Denton’s Confederate monument does not erase history

Tearing down Denton’s Confederate monument does not erase history

Tearing down Denton’s Confederate monument does not erase history
August 30
17:57 2017

On Aug. 26, confederate sympathizers descended on the Denton square protesting in favor of the statue of a confederate soldier in front of the courthouse.

According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, the group called Hiwaymen go wherever they feel they need to show support and keep Confederate monuments intact to preserve southern heritage. Eventually, counter-protesters showed up and shooed the group away sharing opposite sentiments about the monuments and confederate sympathizers.

The Hiwaymen may have come to Denton with the intention of defending the statue, but due to a lack of turnout and a newfound peak in interest in confederate monuments from counter protesters, they failed.

Confederate statues have been the latest project taken on by the resistance. Although many people believe this so-called “whining” and “erasure of history” is brand new, it really isn’t.

In Denton alone, Willie Hudspeth, a resident of the town since 1970, has been protesting the statue for 17 years. As his efforts continue to be shot down, and he felt it was time to run for county judge and take matters into his own hands.

As the spot, currently occupied by Mary Horn, is soon to be open, Hudspeth will try to change things from the inside. Along with this, those against the monument have been protesting at the square every Sunday beginning a couple weeks back.

Due to the current political climate, the tensions of these confederate statues feels heightened. Even though it isn’t new, there seems to be a lot more energy and hope for them to come down. Throughout the nation, plenty of monuments have been coming down in response to pressure put on by protesters.

President Donald Trump, along with many others, feel taking down these monuments means deleting the history of our nation and does not honor those who fought in the war. There’s much wrong with this attitude. Trying to guilt people into thinking they are dishonoring brave soldiers completely ignores what the war was about. The reason people feel so much animosity towards the statues is because they only represent those fighting against people who were trying to disband slavery.

The Civil War was a split in the nation between those for and against making African-Americans a lesser body and force them to work for their ‘superior race’.  Also, the idea that removing a statue of Robert E. Lee is going to make the entire country forget the sins of their past or the labor of their ancestors is foolish. The way the country runs, whether it be smoothly or not so much, is always a reminder of where we were and where we are. We teach our history in schools almost every step of the way. Even though the way it is taught isn’t always exact, that is a broader topic which goes hand in and with this one.

According to a study from 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are distinct periods in time most of these monuments were erected. Those times being during the Jim Crow era and during the Civil Rights Movement. This study further proves these monuments are specifically inserted into public and government areas, such as in front of courthouses like the one on the square, to send messages that there is and will continue to be more value in white lives over black ones in the system.

Even if people feel they no longer mean this, it is still a reminder and intimidation to any African American that their feelings and places in society will be put on the back-burner regardless. Especially as we see events unfold such as Charlottesville, people realize if we are going to combat racism, the response needs to be right and in full this time.  And it includes removing any symbol representing the disenfranchisement of our minority citizens.

Featured illustration by Theresa Sanchez

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Tori Falcon

Tori Falcon

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