Letter: Do Not Erase History

Letter: Do Not Erase History

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I wrote a letter to the editor in July advocating the removal of Appomattox, the bronze statue of a Confederate soldier, from its position of prominence at South Washington and Prince Streets to a spot that does not imply city or Commonwealth sympathy to the Confederate cause.

The recent clamor to rename streets named after Confederates seems over the top. Although their ultimate cause was the continuation and expansion of the institution of slavery, that does not mean that those who supported the Confederacy, or even slavery itself, as evil and unjust as it was, were themselves evil and despicable. As individuals, they were probably no better or worse than their Federal brothers. People are a product of their time and place and their deeds in the Civil War are our national equivalent to the myths of the Greco-Persian Wars.

More pragmatically, it will cost money and cause confusion. Besides, people do not generally think of those for whom the streets were named. They are now mere monikers indicating a place. The same can be said for T. C. Williams High School. To present and former pupils and Alexandrians, it is just the name of their school and few know and fewer care that he supported segregation in complete antithesis to the school’s diversity. History is full of ironies and erasing portions of it for present political correctness hollows its lessons.

Philip Brinkman