‘Placing markers with statues … will not fix this long-standing slap in the face’

7/14/2017, 10:44 a.m.

Re “‘Tear those statues down:’ Richmonders decry mayor’s plan to put Confederate statues ‘in context,’” Free Press June 29-July 1 edition:

James Baldwin wrote in “Notes of a Native Son” that Americans maintain the ability to transform bitter truths into non-offensive and pleasantly stimulating confections to transform their moral contradictions into proud decoration.

Richmond’s proudest decorations are the Confederate statues up and down a corridor whose homes are occupied by a majority of white owners, renters and businesses.

These statues represent a hateful and divisive history that some insist on falsely claiming to be the heritage of many Richmonders, and even more astonishing, a part of African-American heritage. This is not true.

I am proud to say I was born and raised in Richmond. We, as a city, must come together and not only speak truth to power, but also acknowledge our dark and painful past unambiguously.

Placing markers with the statues to add context will not fix this long-standing slap in the face, but will insist that our city continue to embrace exclusion and marginalization.

I stand strongly in saying, “Take them down!”