Toppling the Truth
Sunday, September 9, 2018
I sit in awe as I read and hear about the outrage at the toppling of Silent Sam. The South lost the Civil War 150 years ago and yet still vehemently defends the inhumane grounds on which it was fought and strives to keep its memory alive.
The South fought for so-called “states’ rights” to maintain, legalize and normalize the enslavement of human beings. In its Declaration of Secession, Mississippi, the first state to secede from the Union, explicitly states the cause of its secession being owed to slavery: “In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.”
Sadly, this was just the first of many declarations of secession that identified slavery as their main grievance. While I do grieve for the destruction of a relic that gave insight into the past, I do not grieve for the toppling of the truth — the truth that was laid out during the speech of Julian Carr at the dedication of the Silent Sam monument when he praised God for the preservation of the Anglo-Saxon race and the “purity” of the South then preceded to give a proud narrative about horsewhipping a black woman.
We cannot make progress toward the elimination of the racism that still plagues this country today while monuments that keep its very notion alive are defended and provided justifications for its remained erection. When given the choice between the destruction of a statue and the destruction of moral principles, I will always choose the statue.
The writer is a member of the ECU Honors College Class of 2020.