The left continues to demand that statues from the Civil War, especially those in memory of Confederate officers and soldiers, must be removed from public view. When their demands are not heeded, it seems that mobs are more prone to simply tear down the statues, reveling in their destruction as they did at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.
In response to such demand in the state of North Carolina, a panel of politicians has come together, hoping to find a way that they can preserve their history, while condemning the institution of slavery. This panel came up with a novel response, which included having a ‘historical commission’ vote on whether or not to preserve the monuments at the state’s capitol building.
On Wednesday, the North Carolina Historical Commission came together and voted on the future of three historical Confederate monuments on the grounds of the state capitol building in Raleigh.
They also voted to add ‘context’ about civil rights and slavery, and called for a monument to be built honoring the contributions made by African Americans in the Tar Heel state.
The vote by the commission was triggered by complaints from Governor Roy Cooper, a democrat, who demanded that the removal of the three statues from the capitol grounds.
Instead, Cooper wanted the statues ‘preserved’ at a Civil War battlefield in the area.
According to a local news agency, ABC11, there are more than 100 Confederate statues and memorials still in the state.
Such monuments have been the topic of no small amount of debate since the events at Charlottesville, Virginia, and the violence that erupted there when city officials decided to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee.
Though often remembered as the man who led the Confederate Army, General Lee, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, also led in surrender, refusing to run an insurgent ‘war’ against the Union and eventually running a college in Virginia before his death.
The statue, erected in 1913, has been vandalized since shortly after the death of Martin Luther King Jr.
‘Silent Sam’ stood at the campus to memorialize the men from the university who fought for the Confederacy during the war.
A number of other statues, both in North Carolina and in other southern nations of the country, have been vandalized or destroyed in recent months.
Unlike most other states, however, in North Carolina, the power and authority to remove such statues rest with the state government.
State law, in fact, prohibits the removal of such statues without the express permission of the state legislature.
Of interesting note, however, is the name of UNC- CH’s sports teams, the ‘Tar Heels,’ and its history in the Civil War, as well as the lack of widespread call for the name to be changed.
When it was still a colony, before the United States was freed from the yoke of English rule, North Carolina produced many things for England.
Among those many products, the state produced up to 100,000 of tar and pitch, which were shipped annually back to the homeland.
During the Civil War, calling individuals from North Carolina ‘Tar Heels’ was a pejorative, a derogatory term in common use by the Union military.
Though the precise history of the term is still debated, a book, Grandfather Tales of North Carolina History, stated that the name came about because soldiers from the state “stuck to their work” as if they had tar on their heels.
Allegedly, General Lee even thanked God for the tenacity of the “tar-heel boys.”
Surely, to the angry mob at Chapel Hill, the name of the school newspaper, their famous basketball team, and indeed, the nickname applied to those from North Carolina, should be equally hateful and worth protest?
It seems that, as with many leftist mobs seeking ‘social justice,’ the outrage is extremely selective.
For many, tearing down statues doesn’t make history change. Quite the opposite, in fact; it makes history easier to forget, to ignore.
Educated people know there’s a reason that so many despots tore down the history that came before them, hoping to blot it from the memories of their people.
Slavery was a bad thing, and though slavery was not the sole cause of the civil war, reminders, both for the Union and the Confederacy, keep the horrors of the Civil War and the circumstances around it, in the national zeitgeist.
Monuments can even help to keep such atrocities from happening again, and remind the country that good people fought, on both sides, not for their governments, but for their homes. Such monuments are also a constantly reminder that all rifts, even one that caused such bloodshed, can be healed in time.