When It Comes to Confederate Monuments, It’s the Conversation That Matters

Regardless of how much we would like it to be the case there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Confederate monuments. The wave of Confederate monument removals over the past summer has died down significantly. Much of the media’s attention is now focused elsewhere. Communities across the country must decide how best to engage its residents around possible ways forward.

In Franklin, Tennessee this has resulted in new historical markers installed around the monument that focus on African-American history. I’ve expressed skepticism in the use of historical markers and the verdict is still out as to whether their use here constitutes a solution that addresses the fundamental challenges that these monuments pose.

Source: WMOT 89.5

What I do appreciate, however, is the thoughtfulness on the part of local leaders who chose to take part in this process. You get a sense of this thoughtfulness in the conversation that took place last night about this project.

One of the things that this conversation reinforces in my own mind is that the outcome of whether a monument should remain or be removed may not be as important as the community conversation itself and whether it brings us closer together.

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8 comments… add one
  • Eric Jacobson Dec 5, 2020 @ 18:11

    Thanks Kevin

    • Kevin Levin Dec 7, 2020 @ 6:09

      You are very welcome. Thanks for your participation and engagement in these important community conversations. I really do think it sets an example for other communities to consider.

  • Reggie Bartlett Dec 4, 2020 @ 8:09

    And because of paineite above, I can no longer debate with the pro-removal crowd. I was willing to back in 2013, but after some of the most totalitarian, violent garbage coming from the left after Charleston and Charlottesville, and ESPECIALLY since this last summer. I’ve come to realize I don’t exist in the realm of insanity they inhabit.

    So no. No middle ground. Screw the removal crowd.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 4, 2020 @ 9:25

      The vast majority of the communities that removed Confederate monuments this past year did so after community conversations and votes among city councils. That’s how it should go, in my humble view.

    • msb Dec 7, 2020 @ 0:46

      Are you seriously contending that the comments of one person free you from taking part in a necessary conversation with a large group of people? Sounds very much like the “I might have given you what you wanted if you had only asked nicely” excuse offered by the powerful to many oppressed groups. Remember how Confederates dismissed abolitionists, and in fact the whole Union, as “fanatics”?

      And, if you find a pro-removal person’s comments so unacceptable that you will not respond anyone taking that stance, in what other areas do you apply this reasoning? Are any anti-removal advocates too “extreme” for you to talk to?

      Finally, if you refuse to join in a community discussion, you are consenting to its results, no matter what they are. Could be a problem if you don’t like them.

  • paineite Dec 4, 2020 @ 6:04

    I can’t agree with all the peace-nik “let’s talk about it” BS. Sorry. These are monuments to traitors, mass murderers, man stealers, and their abettors. They need to all be removed from the public space. Stay safe and well.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 4, 2020 @ 6:17

      Thanks for the comment. I certainly think that you can call for their removal and still maintain that community conversations have a place.

      • paineite Dec 4, 2020 @ 11:05

        True enough. I have no problem with dialogue and debate, but I can’t see any compromise on statues to traitors; it is self-destructive to the interests of the nation and an INSULT to the people who died to keep it together and to black folks who STILL live under a yoke of white supremacy to this day. Really appreciate your work. Book is on my shelf.

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