The Confederate flag has been the center of debate following the Charleston church shooting; some say it represents racism, while others believe it’s a symbol of southern heritage.

 

The debate over this flag is an important one for many, but this isn’t the only symbol of the Confederacy that’s causing controversy. In many southern states, there are monuments honoring the U.S. Civil War and the Confederate Army that some see as representations of a dark period in U.S. history.

 

Memorial at Wilson County Courthouse

What was once a segregated water fountain is now a memorial to remember an oppressive time and how far society has progressed since. (america.aljazeera.com)

In front of the North Carolina’s Wilson County Courthouse stands a memorial honoring the civil war’s dead. The monument was once a segregated drinking fountain that separated black and white people from using the same faucet.

 

The water faucets were removed and the monument was repurposed into a memorial that portrays the Confederate flag. Now, the structure represents two periods of black oppression, which has made it all the more offensive for many.

 

Confederate Symbols at Davis Statue

The Jefferson Davis statue at the University of Texas was vandalized with the words “Black lives matter.” (redalertpolitics.com)

With the Confederate flag at the center of a national debate, certain monuments have been recently vandalized. The University of Texas recently had their Jefferson Davis statue defaced with the words “Black Lives Matter” spray painted on the monument.

 

Davis was the president of Confederate states during the U.S. Civil War, which is why some believe he shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. Some students of the university are fighting to get the statue removed from the school.

 

University of Texas president, Greg Fenves, is considering the idea of taking down the vandalized statue altogether. Fenves stated that he will soon announce a committee of students and alumni “that will discuss the future of the Jefferson Davis statue and provide a range of options for me to review.”

 

Silent Sam statue at University of North Carolina

The Silent Sam statue at University of Northern California was dedicated with a controversial speech, making students question the morality of its existence on campus. (chapelhillmagazine.com)

Other than the physical depiction by memorials, monuments are causing controversy over the way they were dedicated, as well. The University of North Carolina has a statue of a nameless Confederate soldier that students refer to as “Silent Sam.” Former UNC student Julian Carr spoke at the monuments’ dedication in 1913. His offensive words are still remembered to this day and seen as evidence that this statue was built on racist ideologies.

 

“Less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a Negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of the quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a southern lady,” said Carr.

 

Some people may have wanted monuments like this as a way to honor the dead and remember this historical war. Carr’s story shows that they were also used to remember a system of black oppression heavily supported in Confederate states.

 

Both sides of the debate have their own emotional investment in wanting to see these symbols preserved or destroyed, which means it may be a long time before this controversy comes to an end.

 

What are your thoughts on the monuments in honor of the civil war? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.