This week 60 Minutes aired an episode on the ongoing debate about Confederate monuments. It comes just a little over a week before the publication of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s book, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History. It is one of the best short segments on the subject. The interviews highlight different perspectives and solutions, which makes it ideal for classroom use.

In addition to Landrieu, historian William J. Cooper, along with Richmond mayor Levar Stoney and University of Richmond historian Julian Hayter are also interviewed. I was especially impressed by Hayter’s interview and disappointed by Cooper’s embrace of the slippery slope argument, which at this point seems rather silly. We can distinguish between monuments to Confederate leaders and the Founding Fathers for the reasons mentioned by Hayter.

I added this video to my Confederate Monuments Syllabus page.

14 comments add yours

  1. I just assumed Dr. Cooper’s appearance was a compromise in order to avoid talking to Neo-Confederates or the Sons.

    I was bit disappointed to hear Dr. Hayter’s acceptance of contextualization for Monument Ave. I’m willing to hear ideas, but unless the contextualization is as big as those monuments then I don’t agree that it will balance out the message. A little plaque on the side of the road will not offer much along the busy thoroughfare of Monument Ave. My continued thinking on this subject points me more and more toward the removal of these statues as the best way to move forward. I’m interested to hear what the Richmond committee decides.

  2. “We” can distinguish the difference, Kevin, but I doubt if the general public can do so. In defense of Dr. Cooper’s comments, I guess I am silly, too. 😉 Although I had never heard of Professor Hayter before yesterday, I now am a big fan (mostly because his views on the subject sync with my own). On another note, for the purpose of diversity, I would really like to see an equestrian monument of George Thomas erected on Monument Avenue (but not at taxpayer expense). I wonder how the heritage crowd would feel about that?

  3. I think Hayter missed an opportunity to espouse what I think is the best rebuttal to Cooper’s lame “burn down the Jefferson Memorial” argument:

    Confederate memorialization is objectionable because of what it celebrates – namely treasonous armed insurrection against the United States whose goal was the establishment of a explicitly white supremacist nation. Almost every monument to Lee or Jackson or Davis memorializes them in that context.

    On the contrary, there are no monuments to Jefferson or Washington that celebrate their slaveownership or their commitment to white supremacy. (Monticello notwithstanding… there is plentiful anti-celebratory memorialization there.)

    Hayter’s argument, that Washington and Jefferson were complex figures who contributed more than they diminished, is a reasonable one. But it is not the central one, in my opinion.

  4. Julian Hayter: “… they (Washington, Jefferson) also baked in the Constitution the components that allowed people to dismantle– the slave system. They built as much as they destroyed. I cannot say the same thing for the Confederacy.” What components? After waging an almost genocidal war, the Union made slavery illegal by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. So is he talking about the ability to raise an army or is he talking about the Constitutional amendment process? The Confederate Constitution also had an amendment process that only required a 2/3 majority instead of the USA 3/4 majority.

      • Jefferson inspired the Bill of Rights, as well as drafting the Declaration of Independence. That’s close enough for me.

        • Inspired?? Well he convinced Madison a Bill of Rights was necessary, but Madison used George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights as his model. If you are going to credit Founding Fathers for the Constitution Jefferson is well down the list after Washington, Madison, Hamilton, etc. Naming the authors of the Constitution as Washington and Jefferson is a bit like me naming the members of the 1927 Yankees as Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel.

          • Except that’s not what I did. Jefferson belongs on the list. Where you place him is up to you.

  5. Bold words like that only come from a Hamiltonian Imperial Socialist Centralized Goverment mind.

  6. No mention of Landrieu using these statues as a springboard for a Presidential run?

    Cynical publicity stunt, and the left salivated over it. Push comes to shove, Trump will wipe the floor with Landrieu.

    I have been validated in what I said months ago, Levin thought it was funny to be sarcastic and insult when I wound up being right?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller??

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