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Jun 16, 2017

Saturday Data: Rising Again (NOT)

Alabama Won't Quit the Confederacy

A state law preserves old monuments, the trace elements of treason and tyranny. 

     That's the headline for a opinion piece posted online this week. It compares Alabama to Louisiana, where the Mayor of New Orleans ordered four confederate monuments taken down, including one celebrating white supremacy:

"Alabama markets its racial crucible, but still can't bear to get beyond it. In 2004 Lee Warner, then executive director of the Alabama Historical Commission, resigned from the commission, complaining that other members were less than eager to memorialize the civil-rights struggle.  
The Freedom Rides and Parks got their respective museums, but the shadows of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee still loom over the state -- Davis from a place of honor just outside the state capitol, where his statue presides."

Admiral Semmes Statue in Mobile.
      We do "market our racial crucible" in many places and in many ways.
     The Capital City, Montgomery, tries to perform a delicate dance,  holding both banners aloft--Civil Rights & Civil War--trying to celebrate the former and acknowledge the latter. It's actually a marketing idea I embraced in earlier years. It seemed a natural.

But now it rings hollow. Consider this: 

     How can we tell the Civil War story amid a battle over what it even meant, when we disagree on the role slavery played, during  a time when monuments to it are  being toppled in many places other than here.
     How can we somehow side-step the reality of slavery?
     The Equal Justice Initiative is building a multi-million dollar memorial to the black victims of lynching. 

     At the same time, official Alabama History Markers seem to boast that The Confederacy was born here.

    And despite Governor Robert Bentley's removal of four confederate flags from around it, the big Confederate Monument next to the capitol building still points proudly skyward. 

[Saturday Data is a regular feature of, about to celebrate a first decade this Fall.]

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