Letters to The Editor – August 23rd, 2017

Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Monuments are political

Smithfield Times
In 1896, the US Supreme Court ruled in Plessy versus Ferguson that laws enforcing racial segregation were constitutional. This marked the start of a wave of Jim Crow laws that mandated racial segregation in public facilities. This was accompanied by a wave of building Confederate monuments as political statements supporting the Jim Crow laws. The Confederate monument in front of the Isle of Wight Courthouse was built in 1905 as part of that wave. The monuments are not simply memorials to Confederate dead. They have always been political.
Greg Vassilakos

Divisive request

Editor, Smithfield Times
Last Thursday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting was certainly entertaining. As I said to several folks seated near me, our Supervisors were really earning the pittance we pay them for being so gentlemanly and tolerant of the many interesting “citizens’ comments” offered that night. But one speaker deserves special dishonorable mention.
The President of the Isle of Wight NAACP publicly announced that she wanted “…the removal of all Confederate Monuments in the county on public property.” Most people in the room seemed aghast if not stunned by this public statement inviting racial disharmony.
I was deeply disappointed to hear a respected member of our community deliberately try to divide the rest of us along racial and political lines by pitting citizen against citizen. We should be united in our efforts to get along with one another, not purposely and publicly segregating us.
I sincerely appeal to all members of our local NAACP Chapter (of which, I was a member for a while) to repudiate and disavow these divisive and unhelpful words by their president. They should appear publicly at the next Board of Supervisors’ meeting to declare their commitment to racial harmony and to be tolerant of the differences of opinion and heritage in these difficult times.
Albert Burckard

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