In response to your May 28 editorial “Rethinking ‘Silent Sam,’ ”: Your staff has been consistent in its condemnation of the least “Confederate” statue that exists. But I take issue with your incorrect historical assumption that all Confederate statues were erected during the Jim Crow era and were done so “not as a monument to Civil War dead but to racial oppression.”
I realize you are basing “Silent Sam” on a racist rant of an old fool, Julian Carr. But if you did some historical research, you would have learned that UNC President Venable’s main motivation was the inspiration of courage to future UNC students.
I have researched other Civil War monuments in the South and all the speeches and plaques refer to honoring the soldiers because the survivors were aging and passing away.
Had these monuments been erected during the civil rights movements of the 1950s and ’60s, your assumption may have had a valid basis. In 1913, there was no need to assert white supremacy; disgusting Jim Crow laws had been in place since 1876. The main movement at that time was women’s suffrage.
Almost all of those young Confederate soldiers were fighting to defend their homes, not slavery or states’ rights.