If only conservative white Southerners cared as much about living Black people as they do about the remains of Civil War soldiers who battled over keeping people enslaved. In fact, many of these folks continue to battle—but now, it’s over monuments to Confederate losers.
Saturday, reenactors showed up in Culpeper, Virginia, to pay their respects to a statue of Confederate General A.P. Hill, whose remains had been held under a monument at an intersection in Richmond. Hill died just days before the end of the war in 1865.
After a court battle last month, the statue of Hill was removed, according to The Telegraph. City officials announced that the monument would be donated to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Hill’s descendants decided his remains would be interred in a cemetery in Culpeper, The Telegraph reports.
RELATED STORY: The U.S. will never move forward until we acknowledge our past and criminalize its denial
The reenactors arrived in full Civil War regalia. Women in full-length black dresses and veils, called “widows’ weeds,” solemnly marched along as Hill’s remains (in a coffin) were pulled on a mule-drawn wagon. Following the eulogy was a 21-gun salute fired from a cannon.
Dave Singleton, one of 600 reenactment players at Hill’s funeral, told the Culpeper Star Exponent he was at Saturday’s event to honor Hill.
“They fought for what they believed in, and we want to celebrate their history, not if you agree with it or don’t agree with it,” he said. “The man needs to be buried and needs to be buried peacefully.”
Patrick Falci, a New York actor and historian who’s portrayed Hill for 30 years, told The Free Lance-Star that “Gen. Hill has been known as Lee’s forgotten general. … But not today. Not here in Culpeper. Not here in Virginia.”
Despite the fact that dozens of Confederate monuments and plaques have been removed in recent years, one monument could be replaced.
The Board of County Commissioners in Bradenton County, Florida, is considering whether or not to reinstall one on the Courthouse lawn.
A common American refrain from the right and conservatives when the conversation about slavery or reparations comes up is that the practice of slavery “has been over for so long” and “why can’t you move on?”
These symbols are reminders. Most were erected decades after the Civil War ended. These racist white men and women draped in Confederate flags are like a million papercuts in a vinegar bath. Why can’t we forget and move on? Because conservative Republican lawmakers are trying to whitewash history. Right now. Today!
RELATED STORY: DeSantis blocks College Board from introducing AP African American Studies course in Florida
On Jan. 12, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote a rejection letter to the College Board, nixing a new high school Advanced Placement African American Studies (APAAS) course, which he claims violates Florida’s “Stop W.O.K.E.” Act.
The letter reads in part, “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”
The College Board, which runs the SAT test, recently launched the APAAS pilot of the course in 60 U.S. schools, but conservatives have pounced on the course, alleging that it promotes critical race theory (CRT)—a course that has never been taught anywhere except in law schools and is code for anti-Black American history.
DeSantis and his ilk are hellbent on erasure.
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Florida educator Dr. Marvin Dunn, a professor emeritus at Florida International University, tells The Washington Post he will not back down from teaching the true history of Black Americans in Florida and the horrors they faced.
“Listen, if there is such a thing as the woke mob in Florida, I aspire to lead it,” Dunn said
Dunn says teaching the complete history of the state is a kind of antidote to the “DeSantis-izing of history.”
“Almost all of Florida’s painful racial past has been whitewashed, marginalized or buried intentionally,” Dunn wrote in his book titled A History of Florida: Through Black Eyes. “But I was born here. I know Florida’s flowers and her warts.”
Election season is already here, and it's already off to an amazing start with Democrats' huge flip of a critical seat in the Virginia state Senate, which kicks off this episode of The Downballot. Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard dissect what Aaron Rouse's victory means for November (abortion is still issue #1!) when every seat in the legislature will be on the ballot. They also discuss big goings-on in two U.S. Senate races: California, where Rep. Katie Porter just became the first Democrat to kick off a bid despite Sen. Dianne Feinstein's lack of a decision about her own future, and Michigan, which just saw veteran Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announce her retirement.