I remember, as a very young man, having a discussion with my father about civil rights and specifically this very monument. He muttered along not wanting to push an issue too far that at that time stood no chance for an appropriate resolve – opting for a “keep the peace” approach. He talked about “heritage” and “well meaning folks” and “remembrance.” Dear old Dad came from a different place and time, but he understood that times they were uh changing, and I knew he didn’t really think too highly of the Confederate monument that still stands guard over the Madison County Courthouse on the square in downtown Huntsville today.
“You Daddy was a Yankee!” No. As a matter of fact, my family has been in Alabama since long before the civil war began. And in fact, some of my distant ancestors participated in the Civil War – fighting for the confederacy. I reckon they was honorable folks, and I intend that they are recognized and honored for acting in what was good faith at that time. But, it was a very different time.
The simple fact is, the South ain’t gonna “rise again,” because that South simply don’t exist. There are still those today who claim the monuments are about heritage, education, remembrance and history. They are right, but the context is wrong, and they know it. The monuments are about racism. It is utterly astonishing to me that the Alabama legislature actually passed a law recently prohibiting the removal of Confederate monuments from public property. This was the time to follow the lead. It is beyond my comprehension that Alabama Governor Kay Ivey actually signed that bill. Shame on you all – you blew this one big time.
As evidenced by the Black Lives Matter protest going on right under the Confederate monument pictured, the problems of the past are not entirely resolved. And as a native of Huntsville, I can tell you that there are deeply ingrained problems based on affinity within the Huntsville police department and in other areas of Huntsville’s society and culture. We are barely a generation away from the civil rights uprising of the 1960’s and the truth is, many of the good ol’ boys from the past meant to make sure they passed on what is now extremism, unnecessary antagonism, and fundamentally unworkable policy.
As a native Alabamian, I am sick and tired of the perpetuation of stupidity that the damn monument represents. If you wish to honor your relative dead for more than 150 years, let it be done in Maple Hill cemetery, where this particular monument belongs. This monument no longer belongs on public property in front of the Madison County Courthouse. Aside from that, the Alabama legislature and Governor Kay Ivey have no business telling the people in Huntsville whether we can move this monument to a more appropriate location anyway.
And the fact of the matter is, people like Jeff Sessions love it when Confederate good ol boys get all fired up about this stuff. It’s the proverbial shingle in their eyes that prevents them from seeing the perpetuation of what amounts to a plantation system that is ultimately just as injurious and debilitating for white folks as it is for black folks. Economic development and growth have suffered long enough because of the never-ending blindness and stupidity.
To Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle I say this: TAKE THAT MONUMENT DOWN !!!
© 2017 – Jim Casey
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As a native Alabamian, I am sick and tired of the perpetuation of stupidity that the damn monument represents. If you wish to honor your relative dead for more than 150 years, let it be done in Maple Hill cemetery, where this particular monument belongs.