The Confederate Battle flag has been getting a lot shine lately, but it’s not the most heinous of Confederate memorials that still persist. People, mainly Black people, are rightfully incensed about the proliferation of the flag. There’s been a lot of traction in getting the flag removed from the mainstream. Walmart, Amazon, and Ebay have all been on board with decreasing the ease with which an individual can obtain a flag. Just this week NASCAR, which to the non-fan looks like a Confederate flag party, has jumped on the bandwagon and is now encouraging people to leave their Confederate flags at home.
All of this is great and a definite step in the right direction. But, there’s a bigger issue here than the Confederate flag. Yes, it’s disconcerting that the battle flag has flown over official government buildings in this country, but what’s worse is that we have monuments that are named after Confederate “heroes.” Why is this acceptable? We’ve picked a few of the most famous monuments named after the most heinous Confederates and highlighted just how awesome these people were.
Confederate Memorials pay tribute to traitors
Fort Benning is one of the largest Army bases in the United States. It is host to more than 120,000 active duty personnel, civilians, and contractors. It was also named after a monster and is one of the largest Confederate memorials in existence.
Henry Lewis Benning, by all accounts, was a horrible person. If you ever want to know what civil rights minorities should have all you need to do is read what Benning thought should be afforded to Blacks and do the opposite. Benning was a staunch secessionist, anti-abolitionsit, and all around nasty bastard.
He wrote that Georgia needed to secede from the Union because the times were getting too progressive. 1860 America was moving in the wrong direction, and he could tell that at the rate the country was moving “it is certain that slavery is to be abolished. By the time the north shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything.” All black everything! Too bad we can’t bring people back from the dead. I’d love to see the look on his face when he saw that the President was Black(ish).
Jefferson Davis Highway
If you live in the DMV area, you’ve most likely traveled on the Jefferson Davis Highway. That’s sad, because Jefferson Davis was a real son-of-a-bitch.
You might remember from eleventh grade history that Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederate States of America. Yup. There is a busy freeway, that coincidentally is the freeway that gets you to the Pentagon, named after a traitor. It wouldn’t be as bad if Jefferson Davis was a good guy who just happened to be a filthy fucking racist. But no, he was shitty. And not just shitty because he hated Blacks. In addition to marrying a girl he met when she was 17 years old, Davis was a shitty tactician who was as much a fan of cronyism as he was racism and slavery.
A pretty strong argument can be made that part of the reason the South lost was because of Davis’ hubris. He was so hell bent on being day to day commander of his forces that he constantly resisted calls for him to hire someone who was better suited for the job. By the time he finally picked Robert E. Lee to lead the Southern forces, it was far too late. Davis’ lack of military prowess and his inability to adequately monitor and coordinate his generals had lead to disorganization and dissension. Which worked out pretty awesome.
So aside from being a shitty person he was a shitty leader. Which is even more reason why we should get rid of this particular Confederate memorials.
Robert E. Lee Monument
Oh Arkansas. You’ll always have a special place in my heart. You brought us Bill Clinton and Bangin’ In Little Rock. So you’ll always be cool in my book. But I need an explanation for the Robert E. Lee Monument. This memorial is one of the few Confederate memorials that exist in Arkansas.
Robert E. Lee, on paper, doesn’t seem as bad as our two previous assholes, but unfortunately we don’t live on paper. General Lee turned down an offer from Abraham Lincoln to command Union troops. Instead saying that even though he had a duty to the United States, his duty to Virginia was stronger.
Many people have pointed to Lee’s post war activities, plus the fact that his wife and daughter ran an underground school for escaped slaves and his wife and mother helped escaped slaves make it to Liberia. That’s all fine and dandy and kudos to those ladies. But the fact remains that Robert E. Lee led an army that was fighting for slavery and against states rights. These are indisputable facts, so he doesn’t get a pass and his name shouldn’t be on anything that’s not his tombstone.
Confederate memorials are odd. It’s rare to create and maintain memorials for losers. And let’s face it: Confederate memorials are memorials for losers and traitors. They lost and yet there’s a deep sense of pride, which is odd. Proud to be losers. I guess…