Last night my husband and I decided to take our dog for a walk at the UT Center for the Health Sciences Park off of Union.
It’s a very pleasant place and shady. Usually there are very few people there after the working day is over.
While we were walking, a woman came up with a flyer to give to us. Nowadays you recoil when someone does that. Since the park has been such a center for controversy because of the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the center, there are often TV crews and vans there or the occasional protest. We didn’t want to get into politics while walking the dog.
The paper that she gave me was about Forrest. She said people should know the truth. Another person was also handing out the paper to drivers on the street. It described Forrest’s efforts to help blacks recover from the Civil War and his promise to free the 44 slaves who fought with him, which he did.
It included the speech Forrest gave to a black group in 1875 in which he asked for reconciliation between the races. It’s a legacy that appears to be overlooked by modern media people.
At home I stumbled upon a story in which Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told Breitbart News
that “history is important” and it should not be rewritten when asked about those attempting to destroy or remove Confederate monuments while touring Antietam National Battlefield on Wednesday in western Maryland.
Zinke explained the significance of history, gesturing to the area around him, “As an example, what did the battle of Antietam bring us? One is that it was the deadliest battle in the history of our country. But also, one could argue successfully, it also brought the Emancipation Proclamation.”
“So there is goodness that came out of this battlefield,” he continued. “Recognizing that two sides fought, recognizing [the] historical significance of a change in our country… so I’m an advocate for recognizing history as it is. Don’t rewrite history. Understand it for what it is and teach our kids the importance of looking at our magnificent history as a country and why we are who we are.”
Zinke was at Antietam to announce that President Donald Trump’s first quarter salary will help restore the historic battlefield.
Activists here want to remove Forrest’s statue from the park. They have already changed the name of it to the unwieldy UT Center for the Health Sciences Park.
When someone talks about removing monuments or books or plays or documents, it’s reminiscent of Soviet era propaganda. Will removing the unpleasant part of our history (and that is disputed by Forrest proponents) make life better for the oppressed? Isn’t it better to be reminded of the need to overcome our prejudices? Does the Left always want to rewrite history? Must everything be polticized?
New Orleans has already removed its Confederate monuments. Will they replace them with current favorites? What if they aren’t perfect? Last I looked, New Orleans was still having problems. It’s been more divisive than unifying.
But that’s what the Left wants, isn’t it?