This week Anderson, South Carolina held public hearings to discuss the future of its Confederate monument, located near the local courthouse. A number of residents spoke, but I want to highlight Sam Brooks, a lifelong resident of the community, who believes the monument should be relocated to a place where it can be properly contextualized.
Here is a brief excerpt from that testimony that cuts to the heart of this issue:
I am asking you to decide if those that fought for Robert E. Lee, those who fought for slavery were in the right. Because if they are right, Ms. Gracie should not be on your council. If that’s true, if that’s what we believe Mayor Roberts should not be our mayor. If that’s true than Matthew shouldn’t be able to be a pastor in our community. And so as a town of Anderson, is that the ideals that we want to lift up and say we believe in?
Brooks is a reminder that this debate will continue to be driven by young Black and white community members, who have learned a very different history of the state and nation from that of their parents and grandparents, and who believe that the monuments no longer reflect the collective values of their communities.
What an impressive young man.