Monday, May 29, 2017

"To Grow Some Historical and Moral Backbone as They Think About Memorialization"

"Wittingly or not, the mayor gave the whole country a serious lesson in how Americans should contemplate their war dead, indeed their broader past, in this divided and quarrelsome nation. He suggested they learn some good history first, face its most troubling parts however painful, and separate 'remembrance of history and reverence for it.' It is an extraordinary act for a Southern white politician to ask his fellow citizens to seriously separate heritage from history, to look down the dark tunnel of slavery and New Orleans's infamous 'slave markets,' and the 'misery, rape, and torture' that followed for so many unnamed individual Africans, Creoles, and African Americans sold as property into the Mississippi River valley. Landrieu argued that ignorance or denial of this past for so long had been collective 'historical malfeasance, a lie by omission.' He called New Orleanians, and thereby all Americans, to an alternative kind of remembrance for this Memorial Day. He asked his auditors to learn a more complex past and to grow some historical and moral backbone as they think about memorialization."

David Blight at The Atlantic considers Memorial Day in the wake of the end of Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

And Adam Serwer at The Atlantic criticizes the cult of Robert E. Lee.

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