I am no longer annoyed by Rev. Ron Rawls and his followers attempts to destroy our monuments, I am angry. We don’t obliterate history, we teach it. The reverend’s point is legitimate and I agree that we have not achieved equality within the races, but tearing down the monuments in not the answer. The church I attend, Memorial Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Rawls’s church, St. Paul’s AME, have partnered on numerous occasions and would like to do more. We have many positive ways of looking at the problems. Tearing down monuments is not a solution.
The city made the correct decision about the Confederate monument. The monument should remain as is. Additionally, it is not legally the city’s decision to do anything about the Loring monument. Both monuments mean more than just the racial issues. I challenge Rawls or any of his followers (except Sandra Parks, who would know) to name the women who erected the Confederate monuments. They didn’t put that up because of racial issues; they did it to remember people they loved. Do you want to destroy this?
William Wing Loring was an amazing military man. The Civil War was a battle front more than a racial issue to him. We need to know more about people like him, not destroy their legacy.
I think education is the issue here and I commend Rev. Rawls and Sandra Parks for bringing the issues to the surface. Yes, they are “making noise.” They were right in doing so; however, removing the monuments is like flag burning. It is disrespectful and unproductive. One speaker in favor of removing the monuments said, “We should remember history, but not honor it.” You can’t remember history if you don’t teach it and it is the choice of the beholder whether or not to honor it.
I would like to move forward by providing more information about both monuments and include the Foot Soldiers monument in any of the tours. I have never heard a tour or trolley driver talk about either the Confederate Monument or the Foot Soldiers Monument. Why not educate those who take our tourists around about explaining our past?
When I do Black History tours I try to describe the past accurately and I always say we have not achieved the ultimate goal of equality. Take down the monuments and I will have less to point to as I explain it. I walk on the foot prints of Andrew Young and show people the corner where he was assaulted. I know the churches where Marten Luther King preached and organized. We don’t want to destroy those. Why destroy other testaments of our past?
We cannot be so negative as to obliterate important signposts of our history. It is our responsibility as the nation’s oldest city to educate our own and inform our visitors. We can do that with monuments.
Thank you Rev. Rawls for bringing the issue to the front. Now, leave our monuments alone.
Karen Harvey is a local author and historic interpreter. She conducts tours of the city to include black history tours.