A couple of days ago I voiced my disagreement with a bill that the Virginia legislature hoped to pass that would prevent local communities from making decisions about what to do with their Confederate monuments. In that post I called on the governor to veto HB 587.
Today the governor did just that:
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 587, which overrides the authority of local governments to remove or modify monuments or war memorials erected before 1998.
The rich history of our Commonwealth is one of our great assets. My administration strongly supports historic preservation efforts, including the preservation of war memorials and monuments. However, this legislation would have been a sweeping override of local authority over these monuments and memorials including potential ramifications for interpretive signage to tell the story of some of our darkest moments during the Civil War.
There is a legitimate discussion going on in localities across the Commonwealth regarding whether to retain, remove, or alter certain symbols of the Confederacy. These discussions are often difficult and complicated. They are unique to each community’s specific history and the specific monument or memorial being discussed. This bill effectively ends these important conversations.
I am committed to supporting a constructive dialogue regarding the preservation of war memorials and monuments, but I do not support this override of local authority.
Accordingly, I veto this bill.
It goes without saying that I agree with the reasoning expressed above. In fact, I couldn’t have written it better myself.
I have received numerous emails over the past year inquiring as to when my book, tentatively titled, Searching For Black Confederate Soldiers, will be completed. While I greatly appreciate the interest, these messages left me feeling incredibly frustrated. To make a long story short, it has been very difficult focusing on this project over the past few years. I have experienced bursts of energy on a few occasions, but nothing sustaining. Chalk it up to being burned out and distracted by other projects.
But this past week I realized that there was another problem. I have spent so much time on this subject over the past 8 years that I lost sight of what it is I even want to say in the form of a book. Naively, I believed that my familiarity with the subject meant that I did not have to waste time outlining chapters and smaller sections. Somehow this book was going to write itself. [click to continue…]
Larry Wilmore offers this brief commentary on the Confederate flag rally that took place this past weekend at Gettysburg. This is certainly not as entertaining as some of his earlier skits on the Confederate flag, but it is still worth watching.
Al Mackey has a nice write-up about what took place at his blog.
C-SPAN has done a great job focusing on Reconstruction over the past few years. Many of these talks have already been posted at the Civil War Memory Facebook page, but I thought it would be helpful to feature them in one place. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does reflect the scope of what has been covered thus far. Enjoy.
Talks and Panel Discussions
Classroom Lectures in History
A bill [HB 587] has reached Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk that would make it illegal for local communities to remove Confederate memorials. It is my hope that the governor will veto this bill.
I say this not because I advocate the removal or relocation of monuments to any individual or event in American history. As I have stated all along, I believe it is up to local communities to make these decisions about what and how to commemorate and remember their collective stories. As we have already seen, these discussions will sometimes include an alteration to the local commemorative landscape, calendar, etc. [click to continue…]