He prefers MLK’s style of protest

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

As I travel back and forth to and from Surry three days a week, I was disheartened to see that the Confederate soldier monument that has stood out in front of the Surry Courthouse for so many years had been removed.

I ask myself what’s the purpose of all of this as I learn that the statue in Newport News at Denbigh courthouse is slated to come down, along with the current discussion about what to do with the Confederate monument that has stood at Isle of Wight Courthouse since 1905. It amazes me that all these statues have stood in place for over 100 years, no one paying any attention to them, then all of a sudden in the past two-three years this big uproar has occurred, demanding they be removed, which supposedly started when a piece of white trash took a gun, killed 20-some people and took a selfie of himself holding a Confederate Battle Flag. Would the same be occurring if he had been displaying an American flag or a Nazi flag? Makes you wonder.

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Another thing that I am wondering about: Why is it that these monuments, which were all erected in the early 1900s, were not removed during the civil rights movement when Martin Luther King was alive and marching/campaigning from 1963 until his death in 1968. Why wait so long? Then it dawns on me that when Martin Luther King was marching/protesting, he was doing it in a peaceful way; he wasn’t intimidated by the presence of the statues.

His vision was much larger, he had been to the mountain, he had talked to his God, his dream was that man would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Just like Jesus Christ preached that all mankind was created in God’s own image. Jesus preached that we should love our neighbors as ourselves!

So when I look at what is going on today and try to figure what is being accomplished here, other than spreading hate/discontent and spending taxpayer money needlessly when we could use that money to make up for tax revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic, nothing of any value is being accomplished.

But then I look again, and I come to the ugly realization that, yes, something is being accomplished: Martin Luther King’s dream as well as Jesus Christ’s dream are being completely destroyed. The racial divide in this country today is worse than it ever was back in the 1960s.

As a boy who spent my summer months from 1963-1968 in North Carolina traveling all over the region with my uncle, who worked for Taylor Biscuit Co., I have seen the aftermath more than one time of the Klu Klan Klan where they burned a cross in a front yard somewhere, in a Black church’s front yard, etc. But what I witnessed/experienced back then pales in comparison with what I see today with regards to Black Lives Matter, Antifa, etc., burning homes, businesses and police stations throughout our country and politicians not allowing the law enforcement to do their jobs.

Martin Luther King and Jesus Christ were not interested in statues. They were not intimidated by them in the least. They cared and were concerned about something much more important: men’s souls! I wonder what they would say if they both came back today and witnessed what all is going on.

A.J. Epps III