I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you have, that the onslaught of dreadful and deadly news of late has served, inadvertently one hopes, to shove Black Lives Matter news and stories to one side. Understandable on one level—the daily news grows worse every day. Bounties on the heads of our serving men and women in Afghanistan; Coronavirus upticks that are starting to look like the Black Plague had nothing on it, never mind the most famous of the early plagues we all know about occurred in the 14th century; jobs reports being touted, with “falling” unemployment numbers that economists are declaring to be not credible—that is, not 11.1% (which is let’s face it still really awful), but rather closer to 14%; and those infection number upticks showing a growth pattern that may make us think a 20% unemployment number is good news. But there’s this:
You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument
The black people I come from were owned and raped by the white people I come from. Who dares to tell me to celebrate them. This article, an opinion piece, by Caroline Randall Williams, appeared in the New York Times on June 28. Williams is the daughter of author Alice Randall. But of more import to our shared history: Williams is the great-great granddaughter of Edmund Pettis, Confederate general, and after whom the infamous Selma Bloody Sunday Bridge is named, The Pettus Bridge. Upon which bridge, on March 7th, 1965, peaceful marchers were trapped at the foot of the bridge, attacked, beaten, and tear gassed. Including currently serving Congressman John Lewis.
Take a few minutes to read her article. And you’ll see why Black Lives Matters and all related offshoots of this umbrella movement must not be allowed to disappear from our attention. And further, the removal of monuments and statues makes such good sense, not from merely a dry historical place, but as a way of honoring all those folks of color whose bodies are, as Williams says, Confederate Monuments.