We expend a great deal of energy re-casting Confederate soldiers as engaged in a constitutional struggle or defense of home that had nothing to do with the protection of slavery. The price we pay is to ignore what actual Confederates said during the war about the consequences of slavery’s demise and their efforts to re-build a society around white supremacy in the years after.
By the time this story was published monuments were being raised across the former Confederate states in celebration of the bravery and sacrifice of the men who with every victory brought their nation closer to establishing a slaveholding republic around white supremacy. That cause did not end with the furling of flags at Appomattox.
Those communities that have chosen to remove or relocate Confederate monuments now have the opportunity to take a closer look at this history and decide how to re-shape their public spaces and even add to those empty pedestals.