In city halls and town halls across the South, the debate over Civil War monuments is intensifying to a fever pitch. Much of the latest reactions, including the one by Savannah’s mayor and city council are being prompted in large part because of the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA.
Last Thursday, Mayor Eddie DeLoach announced that the Savannah will send a resolution to Governor Nathan Deal requesting approval to change the name of the Eugene Talmadge Bridge. Savannah’s largest and most iconic centerpiece.
In the same meeting, the mayor directed the city manager to look at expanding the Civil War monument in Forsyth Park to include a way of telling the whole story of the Civil War, making it more inclusive for all who visit.
My inbox is already peppered with emails rhetorically asking why aren’t we renaming Martin Luther King Boulevard and even President Donald Trump piped in last week asking if we take down statues of Robert E. Lee who’s next, Washington?
Consider this: there’s no moral equivalency between Governor Talmadge, a proud segregationist and leader of Georgia’s White Only Democratic Party, and Dr. King, who devoted his life to trying to unite a racially divided country.
And the same could be said about the differences between Robert E. Lee and George Washington.
There are no gray areas when it comes to racism, it is literally about as a black and white as you can get.
As statues come down and bridges get renamed, irrational reactions take over. Let’s be clear, no one is trying to erase history, as those who don’t learn from our past are doomed to repeat it.
In the end, when we talk about history and heritage, we must honor those things that are honorable, but we must also deplore those things that are deplorable.
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