I post this only because many people believe that the statues of Robert E. Lee (and other Confederates) in the South’s public squares honor cultural heritage.
Robert E. Lee, who was trained at the U.S. Military Academy, was a traitor.
Putting a statue of him in front of a courthouse is akin to putting one of Judas in the churchyard.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Lee applied for and was granted amnesty (full amnesty a couple years later) and was allowed to participate in all citizenship activities usually reserved for those loyal to the flag.
He certainly was considered a brilliant military strategist but declined a major role in the Union Army, opting instead to join up with the traitor states, including his beloved Virginia.
It is reasonable to conclude that Lee ultimately was responsible for the 54,000 casualties at Gettysburg, Pa., a battle from which the South never recovered. It was Lee’s decision to invade.
Civil War statues were erected years after the war ended – you know, during the lynching period -- and served as effective reminders to African-Americans that the white man was in charge.
Put the statues in museums. Give them explanation and context. But get them out of our public areas that are shared by all of us.
And, dammit, don’t compare Lee to George Washington, who led a rag-tag army of patriots against all odds to fight tyranny and who formed a country – after fits and starts – that offered a Bill of Rights on which (eventually) all citizens can rely.