Lawmakers in Alabama who wish to extend the life of the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Fund are running into opposition from black legislators who plan to introduce a bill to kill the program. Yes, the program was started in 1955 in response to Brown v. Board of Education, but why would any responsible legislator stand in the way of a program that helps its residents pay for a college education? Rather than make a very public stand using the tired arguments that Jackson was a slaveowner and therefore not worthy of any recognition at all, work to make the scholarship program more meaningful. Ensure that the committee, which judges the essays, is made up of qualified readers who approach the memory of the Civil War from different perspectives. You could have a couple college history professors as well as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the NAACP, and state legislators on it. Challenge your students to tackle essay topics that ask them to address the tough questions of slavery as well as other issues. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a forum for praising or impugning anything about the Civil War.
How about just trying to understand it better?