Duke University removes Robert E. Lee statue from chapel

Most Confederate Monuments Weren't Built Until the Rise of Jim Crow

Confederate Statues Explained: Why and When They Rose

Other visitors to the nation's capital were more wary of what Confederate statues contribute to society.

Cooper said the Civil War's important history belongs in textbooks and museums. To hail the "beauty" of the statues is to ignore all that, possibly for short-term political advantage, which is what factional demagogues always seek - but not true national leaders. Families and localities are debating the meaning of hundreds of Confederate statues as either educational icons of Southern culture or monuments to white supremacy; President Trump compared statues of Confederates with those of the Founding Fathers; and a debate over the statue of Lee himself in Charlottesville sparked a rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, resulting in injuries and the death of one counter-protester and two state troopers.

As a wave of USA cities have moved to topple their Confederate statues in the wake of violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Richmond - which was once the capital of the Confederacy - could become the next flashpoint in the debate over what to do with its monuments.

Citing the article in which Rivers was interviewed, Schubert noted that Rivers and Pasquotank Commissioners Cecil Perry and Bettie Parker, both of whom are black, oppose keeping the monument on the courthouse green. Back in 2015, after the furor over the use of the Confederate battle flag in SC, the California Legislature considered a bill that would have required most place names, schools and other public places linked to the Confederacy to be changed to something else. The first and third presidents, and many other Founding Fathers and presidents, held slaves, which does make their legacy a complex challenge for all thoughtful Americans.

Plenty of other symbols still remain.

"I don't think it [taking down the Confederate monuments] would change history, because history has already been done", Blackshear said while standing by the Martin Luther King Jr. monument, which he said is his favorite in Washington. Southern states are having discussions about the monuments and there are movements to have them taken down or relocated.

McCallister said all veterans - Confederate or not - deserve respect.

A handful of Confederate statues have since come down - most notably four monuments in New Orleans, including one of Lee.

As we sat in classrooms during the 1960s at Garfield Elementary School, named in honor of the 20th USA president, a staunch supporter of abolition and black suffrage, we learned about the Confederacy's role in the Civil War. To some in the South, Appomattox represented the end of a battle, not the war.

"There's a difference between memory and history", Schubert said. Based on the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, I can assume why. As a child, I remember segregated schools, movie theaters, bathrooms and drinking fountains of the Jim Crow South - all occurring and approved by state law.

"This is when what (Lanier) called this "monument craze" began to happen", Schubert said.

Local newspaper articles from the time support that claim, Schubert continued. The program also apparently failed to mention that perhaps as many Union soldiers as Confederate hailed from the territory that became Faulkner County.

The events in Charlottesville have quickened the pace of the removal of Confederate monuments across the country.

That said a lot about one of the most defining figures in our history, a man directly connected to the controversy that's swirling everywhere these days.

To build Confederate statues, says Dailey, in public spaces, near government buildings, and especially in front of court houses, was a "power play" meant to intimidate those looking to come to the "seat of justice or the seat of the law".

Others attending Thursday's meeting included commission members Rubenia Williams and Lee Cunningham, and community members Kurt and Bobbi Hunsberger, and Williams' daughter, Andrea.

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