Offensive comparison

Published 6:26 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Although Mr. Burckard’s argument (“Keep historic structures intact,” Aug. 19) is based on the importance of how each historic landmark represents the American culture, his comparison of the monument of the Confederate dead to the Schoolhouse Museum is repulsive and tone deaf.

His call for peace is only reflective of the good the monument has created for white American culture. However, the Confederate monument is also symbolic of the divisive and degrading white supremacy of the South during the 1800s.

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If the monument continues to stand, I have to wonder if its oppressive history will be highlighted. Would citizens be afforded the opportunity to learn the comprehensive history behind the monument? Or will the tyrannical enslavement of my African ancestors be dismissed and diminished under the guise to “make America great again”?  It must be understood that we cannot exhibit this symbol of the Confederacy without acknowledging that it is the reason African Americans are still fighting for equality in this country today.

The Schoolhouse Museum provides an opportunity for future generations to understand that the oppressed had to fight tirelessly for the basic right to learn. It illuminates the strength and determination of Black America.

Yet, the Schoolhouse Museum was not created to memorialize the advancement of Black people exclusively. After all, let us not forget that the unification of a black man and a white man, Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, sowed the seeds to create the opportunity for all races to become educated. Therefore, the Schoolhouse Museum incites belief that through any substantial trial, hope and faith will allow you to accomplish anything!

Melissa Barr