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Walls Come Tumbling Down

International conference calls for removal of Confederate monuments from public ground

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All across the country, Confederate statues are being removed from public spaces. City councils, churches, civic organizations and individuals are working together to end the honoring of those that committed treason so that slavery could be maintained. In fact, the movement has become international in scope: from the U.S. to the Caribbean to England and Africa. Wherever enslavement of Africans took place, those who profited have been celebrated and memorialized.

As we struggle to remove statues in Jacksonville, we have found resistance from the entire Jacksonville City Council. Not a single City Council member has been willing to introduce proposed legislation to remove Jacksonville’s symbols of white supremacy. We have also found that the city’s historically black college, Edward Waters College, refuses to support the removal of these statues. College officials cite concerns over losing financial support from the city.

We know that these monuments were not erected right after the Civil War, but much later, toward the close of the 19th century and into the second half of the 20th. They weren’t honorable memorials to the fallen but symbols of support for ongoing segregation.

The truth about the Civil War has been shrouded in half-truths and outright lies for decades. It has been romanticized in movies such as Gone with the Wind and it has been sanitized in our schools. The sanitized Civil War narrative goes something like this: The war was fought because the North wanted the South to pay higher taxes. The North refused to recognize Southern States’ rights. Thus, the story goes, the war had to be fought because of Northern aggression. The truth is that the Civil War was fought over the South’s desire to maintain the institution of slavery and to continue to profit from it.

The answer to why the South was willing to commit treason by secession from the United States can be found in what has become known as the “Cornerstone speech.” This speech was written and delivered by the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens. In the speech, he clearly lays out his white supremacist views and the reason for the war. As he challenged the notion that we are all equal, he stated, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. [Applause] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

The raising of Confederate monuments at that particular time was part and parcel of the legally mandated segregation and widespread disenfranchisement that haunts African Americans to this day. The statues were raised to reinforce the propaganda of white supremacy. The celebrating and memorializing of Confederate soldiers, racist politicians and those that enslaved Africans sent a threatening and intimidating message to the African-American community.

After the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved Africans, lynchings in the United States rose in number. The Tuskegee Institute reports that 4,743 people were lynched nationwide between 1882 and 1968. One example was Jack Turner. He was lynched in Butler, Alabama, in 1882 for organizing black voters in Choctaw County. Another example is Calvin Mike. After he voted in Calhoun County, Georgia, in 1884, a white mob attacked and burned his home, lynching his elderly mother and his two young daughters, Emma and Lillie.

To remove these Confederate monuments is neither to change nor erase history. What will change with such removals is what American communities decide is worthy of civic honor.

The fight to remove the Confederate statues in Jacksonville is led by TakeEmDownJax, a local group dedicated to removing the Florida Confederate Soldiers Memorial in Hemming Park and the Monument to the Women of the South in Confederate Park.

TakeEmDownJax is participating in TakeEmDownEverywhere’s international conference March 22-24. This network of groups from around the country—and the world—is working to remove symbols of white supremacy in their respective cities. The conference is an opportunity to raise consciousness and strategize about how to continue the struggle.

We urge the public to participate in a rally which will be held 3 p.m. March 23 at Confederate Park, 956 Hubbard St., followed by a panel discussion at the IBEW Union Hall at 966 North Liberty St. at 5 p.m. Among the featured speakers will be Maya Little, who led a successful campaign to remove the statue of Silent Sam, a Confederate statue from the University of North Carolina campus, and Michael “Quess” Moore, who led the struggle to remove Confederate statues in New Orleans.

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Todd is a member of TakeEmDownJax. For more information, visit takeemdowneverywhere.org.

13 comments on this story | Add your comment
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SusaninFlorida

You mention taking down the statute at Confederate Park. I have heard a suggestion that the statutes be moved to a place that would give a fuller history of the Civil War. Are you opposed to that idea?

in response to this part of article:

To remove these Confederate monuments is neither to change nor erase history. What will change with such removals is what American communities decide is worthy of civic honor.

http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/parks/confederate-park Tuesday, March 19|Report this

marycatherinegordon

Before and throughout the entire Civil War slaves, who were owned by Ulysses S. Grant’s wife Julia Dent, worked at Ulysses S. Grant’s White Haven home in Missouri, a Union slave state. I am against slavery. If the Civil War was started over the issue of slavery, why did President Lincoln choose Ulysses S. Grant to be his top general? Captain David Camden De Leon, a Jewish physician, was the first surgeon general of the Confederate States of America. I therefore find it strange that the CSA flag has become associated with that red flag with the black swastika in the middle. In 1862 General Grant issued Order No. 11 which ordered the expulsion of Jews living in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. As far as I know, General Robert E. Lee never ordered the expulsion of Jews living within the Confederacy. I do not know why some people associate statues of General Lee and the Confederate flag with antisemitism. Many Confederate soldiers were Jewish. I never hear about people protesting the presence of statues of General Grant because of his antisemitic Grant Order No. 11. http://www.rulen.com/myths/ http://www.angelfire.com/la3/sarge/lie.html http://www.angelfire.com/la3/sarge/lie.html https://mises.org/library/lincolns-tariff-war http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~cescott/history/freight.html Wednesday, March 20|Report this

marycatherinegordon

Slavery was bad. Many of the African slaves working in the south were owned by companies based in the north. These slaves were being rented out to southerners and so these slaves could not be freed by the people they were working under. I would say that the north was probably just as complicite in the institution of slavery as the south was. Blaming it all on the south does not make any sense. I am glad that they were finally freed but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation really did not do anything to free the slaves unfortunately. http://www.angelfire.com/la3/sarge/lie.html https://www.westga.edu/~bquest/2015/connected2015.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0ECisyw55zZ33z_uJogibMLqifZd-57BkvFZPc068y5Q8VU6KwKwSLgSw

Wednesday, March 20|Report this

marycatherinegordon

General Robert E. Lee's slaves were freed in 1862. This was way before General Grant's slaves were freed. Grant's slaves were not freed until after the Civil War. How hypocritical that folks are protesting the presence of statues of Lee when they are not protesting the presence of statues of Grant.

Wednesday, March 20|Report this

marycatherinegordon

The Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

A Transcription

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclllusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States".

Now, therefore I Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the the people thereof respectively, are on this day in rebellion against the United States, the following,to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I herby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

I highlighted the areas in red to stress certain points. One is that Lincoln is only freeing the slaves that are in the states and parts of states that are in rebellion. In other words, those not under Union control. The areas where he could enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, the southern Parishes of Louisiana, etc., he let them remain as they were. So according to the Proclamation, slaves in the area of Shreveport, Louisiana were free, but not the ones in New Orleans.

Another point I see is that he is only calling these states and areas to be in rebellion for one hundred days from January 1, 1863. According to my math that would be April 10th. So why didn't the Yankees pull out and go back North beginning on April 11th?

Of course we all know that the real reason for the Emancipation Proclamation was politics. Lincoln did not care whether the slaves were really freed. If he had, he would have tried freeing them immediately upon assuming office. That is what he would have campaigned on. He was afraid that England and/or France might become allied with the Confederacy. By issuing the Proclamation, neither of those countries wanted to be seen as supporting the institution of slavery.

Well, there you have it. My brief analysis of the great lie known as the Emancipation Proclamation. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Always seek the truth. With truth you have knowledge. With knowledge you have power.

Thursday, March 21|Report this

marycatherinegordon

The Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves that were in the states and parts of states that were in rebellion. In other words, those not under Union control. The areas where he could enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, the southern Parishes of Louisiana, etc., he let them remain as they were. So according to the Proclamation, slaves in the area of Shreveport, Louisiana were free, but not the ones in New Orleans.

Another point I see is that he is only calling these states and areas to be in rebellion for one hundred days from January 1, 1863. According to my math that would be April 10th. So why didn't the Yankees pull out and go back North beginning on April 11th?

Of course we all know that the real reason for the Emancipation Proclamation was politics. Lincoln did not care whether the slaves were really freed. If he had, he would have tried freeing them immediately upon assuming office. That is what he would have campaigned on. He was afraid that England and/or France might become allied with the Confederacy. By issuing the Proclamation, neither of those countries wanted to be seen as supporting the institution of slavery.

Well, there you have it. My brief analysis of the great lie known as the Emancipation Proclamation. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Always seek the truth. With truth you have knowledge. With knowledge you have power.

Thursday, March 21|Report this

marycatherinegordon

A black author, Lerone Bennett, Jr., in his book "Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's Dream Of A White America", he states "the most famous act in American political history never happened." Here is a black man calling the Proclamation just what it is - a lie. Thursday, March 21|Report this

marycatherinegordon

http://www.marottaonmoney.com/protective-tariffs-the-primary-cause-of-the-civil-war/

Thursday, March 21|Report this

marycatherinegordon

http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~cescott/history/freight.html Thursday, March 21|Report this

marycatherinegordon

Since northern institutions profited from slavery, the Union flag represents slavery's past just as much as the Confederate flag does. Let's tear down the northern monuments of the northerners (General Grant for example), some of them being Union soldiers, who were tied to slavery. Brown Brothers Harriman is the oldest and largest private investment bank and securities firm in the United States, founded in 1818. USA Today found that the New York merchant bank of James and William Brown, currently known as Brown Bros. Harriman owned hundreds of enslaved Africans and financed the cotton economy by lending millions to southern planters, merchants and cotton brokers. JPMorgan Chase recently admitted their company’s links to slavery. “Today, we are reporting that this research found that, between 1831 and 1865, two of our predecessor banks—Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana—accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took ownership of approximately 1,250 of them when the plantation owners defaulted on the loans,” the company wrote in a statement. New York Life Insurance Company is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States. They also took part in slavery by selling insurance policies on enslaved Africans. According to USA Today, evidence of 10 more New York Life slave policies comes from an 1847 account book kept by the company’s Natchez, Miss. agent, W.A. Britton. The book, part of a collection at Louisiana State University, contains Britton’s notes on slave policies he wrote for amounts ranging from $375 to $600. A 1906 history of New York Life says 339 of the company’s first 1,000 policies were written on the lives of slaves. Thursday, March 21|Report this

IlaRaeMerten

Mary Catherine, anyone who seriously studies American history will understand that this whole country most particularly the white members benefited from slavery and still benefit from our slavery past just as you have pointed out.. If we are students of humanity, we will also understand that divesting oneself and divesting the nation from the tentacles of the centuries old institution of slavery would be messy, convoluted, and entertaining of hypocrisy as again your treatise points out. And still is messy and a work in progress. We also understand that the politics of our Republic have never been straightforward. Purity usually loses elections. So, I have little to protest in your trip through history.

My only problem is that you seem to be using this historical treatise to protest the removal of statues that were pretty much a message to former slaves and sons and daughters, and grandsons and granddaughters of slaves to mind their place. It’s time for the descendants of those slaves to say: “My place is here, and the place of these statues is not.” By demanding the removal of these statues, African Americans and their white brothers and sisters are challenging white Americans to understand the invisible roots of that history that still infect us like the invisible tentacles of mold in white bread. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done much more to be called out and named, as you have pointed out and much to be changed. Taking down these statues is only one step in long arduous journey of acknowledging, owning, repenting, and making restitution for our national sin of slavery.

Friday, March 22|Report this

marycatherinegordon

In 1860 a total of 451021 slaves were living in the union (non-confederate) states of the USA. They were not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. They were not freed during the Civil War. How come the Union flag is not associated with slavery? Many northerners owned slaves while many southerners did not own slaves. http://www.civildiscourse-historyblog.com/blog/2017/1/3/when-did-slavery-really-end-in-the-north

Tuesday, March 26|Report this

marycatherinegordon

http://alfred22lr.blogspot.com/2015/02/black-history-month-2015-black.html Tuesday, March 26|Report this