June 16, 2020 10:21:08 AM
During Monday's Lowndes County Board of Supervisors meeting, Scott Volland, a local pastor, appealed to the supervisors to remove the Confederate memorial from the courthouse grounds.
Similar efforts to remove these monuments, almost all of which were erected 30 to 50 years after the end of the Civil War during the Jim Crow era of the South, have been happening throughout the South in recent weeks.
All three white supervisors -- board president Harry Sanders, John Holliman and Trip Hairston -- voted against the removal, but did not participate in the discussions before the vote was held. The motion defeated, 3-2, along racial lines.
Even before the vote, we were convinced the relocation of the monument was justified. The inscriptions on the monument are evidence that rather than reflect history, it is a gross distortion of history, a tribute to Lost Cause mythology erected long after the war's end and a reminder to all -- especially black citizens -- of a stubborn racial hierarchy that persists even to this day. Perhaps most egregious is the fact it is located at a site where citizens -- black and white -- seek justice.
If the weight of the argument to move the monument wasn't already sufficient, the comments made by Sanders after the meeting should settle the matter once and for all.
Sanders said black opposition to the monument is proof that American blacks have not assimilated as have other ethnic groups. "The only ones that are having problems: Guess who? The African Americans," Sanders said.
He didn't stop there.
He said blacks during slavery became dependent on their slave-owners for sustenance and survival and remain dependent today.
We will waste no effort in condemning Sanders' twisted view of history and how he believes it has shaped the character of our black community today, other than to say his words would have been comfortable on the lips of Mississippi's most virulent racist officials of our ugly past, men like Vardaman, Bilbo and Barnett.
This attitude, especially from an elected leader, is slanderous to our black citizens, a stain on the character of our white citizens and a poor reflection of us all.
Sanders' comments are not just offensive. We fear they are dangerous.
It is time for our community to stand as one for not only the relocation of the Confederate monument but for Sanders' immediate resignation.
His continuing presence, not unlike the monument, will serve as ugly reminder of the past and the crippling residue of bigotry that continues, sadly, even today.
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