Barry Saunders raised an evocative point in his July 8 column “Silent Sam needs a companion” about adding to rather than removing statues.
In this window of opportunity for North Carolina to demonstrate a positive rejoinder to the sudden Southern remorse over public reminders of slavery and Jim Crow, it might be well and perhaps easy for our political and business leaders to come together to find common ground on racial symbolism.
Our history of race relations has been strewn with both successes (Greensboro lunch counter in 1962) and failures (Wilmington riots of 1898) but our progress in African-American achievements has been remarkable – in business, the arts, politics, sports and education.
We can honor the past and celebrate the African-American heritage not by retaliation or even recompense, but by erecting monuments to freedom in public spaces across the state in all forms – buildings, statuary, plaques, parks and road names.
One idea already on the drawing board and approved by the Council of State is the African-American Freedom Park to be constructed in the center of Raleigh by a grassroots non-profit group in the process of raising funds for this new landmark. It will display the perilous struggle for freedom and the shared celebration of achieving it.
The time seems right to move ahead to make this state proud of the accomplishments of all its people.
David Warren and Goldie Frinks Wells
Chapel Hill, Greensboro
The writers are co-chairs of the North Carolina Freedom Monument Park Project.