To the Editor:
On March 21, 1861, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, stated “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone 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.”
And yet for 108 years the Lebanon public square has paid homage to those who fought under the flag of this “moral truth”; most notably, to Confederate Gen. Robert H. Hatton, who adorns the top of this monument.
He is not a Tennessee native and does not represent the modern community’s views at large. Over 1,000 people on Change.org want it removed, including myself, a Wilson county citizen born and raised in Lebanon.
If the support exists to formally eradicate the monument from a public setting then maybe it’s time, nay, long overdue.
If the organization that backs the monument fears our community will forget history then perhaps it’s appropriate to open a book or visit a museum. These are the suitable forums for such remembrance, and education on what the Confederacy partly fought so hard to permanently establish — the subjugation and enslavement of human beings. I do not require this statue to remember such depravity.
Surely, there is a nobler cause my hometown can memorialize in a public square besides a Jim Crow-era statue with ties to treason, dehumization, inequality, racism, terror and national faction? Surely our city can do better than this.
If you wish to sign the petition go to http://chng.it/6RjSdvzMKw.