The argument made in the “To learn from the past, keep its monuments” editorial article on June 2 is beyond dispute.
But those who most strongly oppose the replacement of statues and other named monuments to Civil War heroes seem to have another agenda – to continue to glorify the part of the South’s past that enslaved human beings.
In all the news and debate on this issue there has not been a single proposal to build memorials to slave auctions, or to slave labor on plantations or even to put plaques on historic buildings that were built with slave labor. Nor have I heard any suggestions to remember with ignominy the Jim Crow South, or lynchings or unfair distribution of education funding, among the many other parts of our history to be remembered along with the names of those who fought to destroy the Union and preserve slavery.
Because of this, I propose that going forward, all historic monuments, roads, buildings and bridges paid for with public money be named for a maximum of 60 years, after which a new hero or embodiment of public esteem would replace the old. If the original honoree of the monument is still held in esteem after two generations, then he or she could again be selected to represent history.
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Requiring a term limit for these memorials would also prevent the otherwise inevitable controversies that would accompany any debate over whether or not to keep a memorial. Let’s remember a fuller history, and let’s also make room for those who lead how history is remembered toward greater justice.
Rabbi Jonathan Gerard
Remember civil rights
Regarding the NBA Notebook article “Cops: Racial slur sprayed on LeBron James’ L.A. home” on June 1: The recent racial incident in which the home of LeBron James was vandalized and racial slurs were written on the gate to his property indicates just how far America has to go in terms of race relations.
It matters not if someone is rich or poor, or if someone has accomplishments and contributions to society. Being a person of color makes a person a target for racial bigotry, prejudice and discrimination in all forms.
Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, and his family were not immune to racial slurs and derogatory comments from those who hated him because of his color. Black students attending predominantly white colleges and universities have complained about the racial hatred and treatment they have received at these institutions.
It is unconscionable and inconceivable that this kind of deep, racial hatred continues to exist long after the tumultuous fight for civil rights during the 1960s and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle and ultimate sacrifice to achieve these rights not only for people of color, but for everyone who has felt the sting of racial hatred, discrimination and prejudice.
Julius H. Cromwell