Editorial: Don't remove Confederate monuments—make them opportunities for reflection

The death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Va., at the hands of white supremacists has rightfully sparked a national debate about the proper place Confederate statues and memorials should occupy in the public sphere. The conversation is long overdue and might lead to enlightened thinking about the legacy of the Confederate States of America. But the knee-jerk response to remove all vestiges of the Confederacy on the landscape is misguided and will not serve our children well.

To be clear, 11 Southern states seceded over the winter of 1860-61 to protect slavery and preserve white supremacy, which they believed were threatened by the incoming presidential administration of Abraham Lincoln. The evidence for this “truth” can be found in the 8,000 pages of official documentation from the debates in Congress and the states themselves.

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