I went on the radio talk show of conservative host Bill LuMaye in Raleigh on Friday and the subject quickly morphed into a debate about confederate monuments and the failure of state conservative leaders to live up to their promises about removing the confederate flag from state license plates. And although I think I hung in there against the defenders of secession and others — many of them, weirdly, transplanted Yankees — who passionately defended the monuments and the decision of the General Assembly and Gov. McCrory to “protect” them, I wish I’d had the article featured in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Tim Tyson in front of me.
In it, Tyson provides a useful history lesson about the origin of many of the monuments and the one-sided history they frequently portray. Here’s Tyson:
“If your family has been in North Carolina since the Civil War like mine has, your ancestors might well have detested the Confederacy. If you added up the African-Americans, the Unionists, the anti-Confederate rebels, the anti-war crowd and those who simply hated what the Confederacy did to their home state, they might have outnumbered the hardcore Confederates. The sizable crew of dissidents was just as Southern as Robert E. Lee and might be astonished to see Confederate monuments all over the state today.
In arguing for the new Mandatory Confederate Monuments Act, Republican Rep. Marilyn Avila of Raleigh said, ‘When you talk about memorials and remembrances, the point of time at which they were erected is extremely relevant.’ Avila was right. She simply had no idea when the monuments went up, saying it was ‘shortly after the War Between the States.’ If someone had tried to put up Confederate monuments all over North Carolina shortly after the Civil War, there might have been another war. The unanimous Confederate white South is nothing but a cherished myth – especially in North Carolina.”