More Retreat of Confederate Heritage

In addition to the news out of New Orleans regarding removing white supremacist monuments, we have the following:

In Riviera Beach, Florida, crowds cheered as the Old Dixie Highway was renamed the President Barack Obama Highway. Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters said, “[The Old Dixie Highway is] symbolic of racism, symbolic of the Klan, symbolic of cross burnings and today we are stepping up to a new day, a new era, and replacing Old Dixie with Barack Obama, who represents change.”

Baltimore, Maryland created a commission to look at possibly removing four confederate monuments in the city. Sociologist James Loewen said, “Of course, the monuments are becoming flashpoints. They were intended all along to be divisive.” He says they weren’t put there to heal or to honor anyone, but instead they were put there “to promote segregationist values.” Other actions in Maryland have rolled back confederate heritage already. “In Rockville, a courthouse Confederate statue has been boarded up in preparation for a move to a nearby historical park. In Frederick, aldermen passed a resolution to remove from the steps of City Hall a bust of Taney—the Supreme Court chief justice who delivered the notorious Dred Scott decision that ruled slaves remain the property of their owners in free states and that all blacks were not, and never could be, full U.S. citizens, including those who were ‘free.’ From Annapolis, Gov. Larry Hogan requested the Motor Vehicle Administration stop issuing and recall commemorative Confederate license plates, and in Baltimore County, the name of Robert E. Lee Park (owned by the city, but operated by the county) was changed to Lake Roland on the county’s website.” Eli Pousson, director of preservation at Baltimore Heritage, said, “The meaning of the works is not confined to the Civil War, but reflects the racist reaction against civil rights in Maryland and the South from the 1860s to the 1960s.”

The Fairfax County, Virginia school board, one of the largest districts in the nation, is looking at possibly renaming schools that were named after confederate heroes. “The school board voted unanimously Thursday to alter the policy that barred officials from changing the names of school buildings unless the building was repurposed. Under the new policy, the board also can change a name ‘where some other compelling need exists.’ Those who lined up to speak in favor of changing the names linked to the Confederacy and segregation said they definitely have a ‘compelling need.’ ” Resident Stephen Spitz said, “Make no mistake; J.E.B. Stuart High School was not named to honor a Confederate general’s role in the Civil War. The school was named as part of Virginia’s massive resistance to school integration.”

The University of Alabama removed a portrait of confederate general John Tyler Morgan due to his ties to the Ku Klux Klan after the war.

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