This has to be one of the best discussions about the place of Confederate iconography in our public and private spaces that I have seen. This panel discussion took place at the National Cathedral, which recently removed Confederate battle flags from its stained glass windows. The question of whether the full windows depicting Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed has yet to be decided. That is the setting for this discussion.
The panel includes historian John Coski, Canon Theologian, Kelly Brown-Douglas, and the Associate Director of the National Museum of African-American History & Culture, Rex Ellis. Ray Suarez moderates.
I especially appreciate the role that John Coski played in this discussion. When it came to the question of what to do with the windows, Coski noted that it is a decision best left to the church community. He didn’t attempt to argue that by removing the windows history was being erased or that we lose an opportunity to learn from the past. And thankfully, he didn’t suggest that what is needed are interpretive panels.
The question that must ultimately be decided, as Brown-Douglas noted is: “Who are we?”