No more monuments to slave owners and Confederates
Letters to editor
10/18/2019, 6 a.m.
On Monday, the Commonwealth of Virginia took another absurd step toward creating another space in Richmond to celebrate slave owners and Confederates.
The Virginia Capitol Foundation expressed its intent to place statutes of women that owned slaves and worked to ensure that the enslaved would never be free on Capitol Square alongside statues of women who were enslaved and took great strides to free themselves from bondage and go on to do great things in the Commonwealth.
When asked about this effort, Gov. Ralph S. Northam, who has had his own issues with race this year, through a spokesman made a rather vague and unassertive statement.
We had hoped that the governor would have made a strong statement condemning the utter travesty of having Confederates and slave owners seemingly walking hand in hand with the formerly enslaved as if gender were some sort of modern cure all for white supremacy, racism and brutality.
This Commonwealth continues to metaphorically fall down, bump its head and wake up with some sort of collective amnesia over its past. Fairy tales are still being spun about Virginia’s past. Even worse, many people believed this foolishness, like for instance the one that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings had some sort of consensual, but complicated relationship, when in reality this relationship could only be defined as sexual assault.
Virginia needs to understand that rape, torture, murder, infanticide and ethnic cleansing were a very real and a very large part of this Commonwealth’s history. Virginians need to stop patronizing their past and those who carried out the atrocities. These acts were committed by terrible people and no amount of white-washing can change that fact.
That Virginia has reached some sort of equilibrium on at least the harsher aspects of white supremacy and race has only been witnessed over the last few decades.
Hopefully the next time our governor talks about statues of slave owners and Confederates, he will say what needs to be said very loudly and very clearly — that this is wrong! The apologists and sympathizers can continue to sell it or even try to spin it around gender, but we are never going to buy it. Wrong is wrong and can never be right.
PHILLIP E. THOMPSON
The writer is a former president of the Loudoun County Branch NAACP.