President Trump is at it again, tweeting about the statues that are being pulled down that "all represent our History & Heritage both the good and the bad."
It is also very common to see defenders of the Confederate symbols say that they represent "heritage not hate." I would like to put a little context into what those Confederate symbols actually represent. The vast majority of Confederate monuments were erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy between 1890 and 1950.
These monuments were erected during the imposition of Jim Crow laws and served as a very visible reminder of the societal structure supporting white supremacy. The state flag of Georgia was redesigned in 1956 to include the Confederate stars and bars and in 1962 the state of South Carolina put the Confederate flag on top of its state capitol building in Columbia just as the Civil Rights movement was starting to spread across the south.
Again, these flags served as very visible reminders of white supremacy, having very little to do with heritage. Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, was very helpful in describing the motives of the South when he said the following in 1861 in Savannah, Georgia: "our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas [as those of slavery foes]; 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. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
All those Confederate statues, monuments, schools, and Army bases that are named after Confederate generals all follow from this desire to maintain and admire white supremacy. It is long past time to remove them from the public square and put them in museums where the full story of their creation and symbolism can be told in context. They are certainly not reflective of any "heritage" worth protecting.