Veneration Creates Normalcy
I would recommend the following essay from Rose Sampley: A Southern Woman Shares Her Story of Statues, Lies, and Listening.
In fourth grade I took a field trip to Stone Mountain to see the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson up close and personal.
This is a very fond memory for me of my childhood.
I remember salt water taffy and blown glass figurines in the park.
I remember riding the Summit Skyride and just looking out for miles and miles.
But you know what I don’t remember? Anyone telling me,
“These men carved into this mountain are the men that lost the Civil War.
These are the men who fought to be a separate America and lost.
These are the men that fought to keep slaves.”
No one took the time to educate me on the real history of these men.
Instead, I was filled with fun, happy thoughts.
How could these guys be bad people?
I mean, they’re riding horses, come on!
Every ten year old thinks someone riding a horse is cool.
And here is the problem. Put people on pedestals, and those who see them will assume good things about them. It really isn’t much more simple than that.
If one is unfamiliar, here is the tribute to Davis, Lee and others carved into the side of a granite dome just outside of Atlanta:
And is it is in perspective, with my family in the foreground over 11 years ago:
Notice the happy tourist village (with the aforementioned salt water taffy and blown glass figurines).
Also, a great view from above:
I am not sure what you do with this monument–it isn’t so easy to take down. But some contextualization sure would be nice. But, at a minimum, this is a great illustration of how CSA symbols are used in way to create warm fuzzy feelings and positive associations.