Robert e lee stonewall, jackson, who’s next washington, jefferson and it’s so foolish, and also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities and towns will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced. I have an easy way for you to think about this. George washington owned slaves. He absolutely did the washington monument. If you go to washington dc and look at it, it’s got nothing to do with slavery or the civil war on it anyway. I think what he was honored for was, i don’t know forming the country being the first president, the fact that he owned slaves. You are absolutely right and i’m going to talk about that, but that monument is not a monument to fighting killing others and being willing to die yourself so that you can enslave people and treat them as chattel that’s. The difference between the washington monument and the jefferson monuments and the monuments that i’m going to talk about, so i grew up in memphis tennessee and what greets me as a citizen of tennessee when i go to my state capitol in nashville, where my grandparents lived. This is what i see nathan, bedford forest, and you can see confederate states, army, lieutenant general and his birth date and his death date. There is nothing else on this monument except the fact that he was a confederate states general. Well, he made a fortune in memphis as a slave trader and he was the original grand wizard of the kkk.

He led a confederate massacre of black soldiers and white soldiers, american soldiers during the civil war and this monument wasn’t put up in 1865 or 1866 with people saying he’s such a hero. We have to recognize him. This monument was built in 1970, two years after martin luther king was shot in the neck just down the road from nashville tennessee, that is, the yearbook from nathan, bedford, forest high school in jacksonville florida it’s. The most recent version that i could find from 1993.. This is now called westside high school in jacksonville florida and that name change occurred in 2014. and if you’re wondering what the civil war was about, how about not listening to pundits from today or politicians from today? How about going back and listening to the people that actually fought that war and what they have to say? If we ain’t fighting to keep slavery, then what the hell are we fighting for? I got a couple of days ago, an email from a gentleman who sent me an article about the robert e lee family, because robert e lee’s descendants are still alive and in virginia, and he said i hope you understand that you know these descendants are not their Ancestor – and i know you’re going to give this talk, and i hope you will have in your mind and in your heart – empathy not sympathy but empathy for his family today and i want to say: could i just see a show of hands in this room? How many people in this room have ever owned a slave? I see no hands robert e lee’s family, the people that exist today they never own slaves.

Either. Slavery is not our fault, we have no responsibility for it. It is part of our shared history and that’s. What we can’t walk away from and one of the things that this gentleman sent me was a washington post article where one of robert e lee’s descendants was saying we were always taught that our ancestor didn’t fight to protect slavery. He fought for virginia and what i want to do is just to read you the end of some comments from someone much more eloquent than me on this subject: w.e.b du bois written in 1928 on this topic. What was the civil war thought about and when people say we were taught that he didn’t fight he wasn’t fighting for slavery. He was fighting for the south. It is the punishment of the south that its robert lees and jefferson davises will always be tall handsome and well born their courage will be physical, not moral. Their leadership will be weak compliance with public opinion and never costly and unswerving revolt for justice and right. It is ridiculous to excuse robert lee as the most formidable agency, this nation ever raised, to make four million human beings chattel instead of men and women either he knew what slavery meant when he helped maim and murder thousands in its defense, or he did not if He did not, he was a fool if he did. Robert e lee was a traitor and a rebel, not a hero. I feel for the family of robert e lee that’s alive today, because this must be a really difficult time for them.

This is the price you pay when you live a lie when your view and understanding of history is based on a lie, because when the truth comes to town, it really hurts when you’re ripping that lie off so anniston alabama. I just want to give you a sense when we talk about confederate monuments. What are we talking about and i’m just going to give you an idea, so in anniston alabama in 1905 they decided that they wanted to honor this man john pelham, and that is a statue or a picture of the monument of mr pelham in anniston alabama. This is word for word from the united states civil war website, not a confederate website. This is something put up by our government, and this is what it says. John pelham fought with such valor and dedication for the confederacy, giving his life in that cause that he has become a symbolic of alabama fighting men in all wars who have offered themselves to defend the state, the nation and the principles in which they believed. Those principles are simply one thing: white, supremacy and belief in slavery. This man resigned from west point just a few weeks before he graduated, so he could come back to alabama and join the confederacy and i’m going to go back for just a second take the word confederacy out of that statement and put the words nazi army in And see how it reads: he was a genius at killing the enemy in the battle of fredericksburg.

He kept the entire union forces in disarray by himself by firing artillery running to the next piece of artillery firing it making. The union think that there were a large number of troops at their flank when they actually weren’t and it led robert lee lee to call him the gallant pelham. This man died during the civil war. He was an expert at killing the enemy, meaning american soldiers, and when you talk about the rhetoric that we have today about our military and about american soldiers and how what we owe to the people who put their lives on the line, this man was slaughtering american Soldiers and they built a monument for him. Everybody remembers the edmund pettus bridge and bloody sunday heck. They made a movie about it, but who was edmund pettis well that’s, who edmund pettis was the grand of the alabama kkk and that bridge was dedicated not in 1865 or 1870, but in 1940 and we’ll. Come to that timing, as we go through this, because the timing of these monuments, i think, suggests something that’s very important in terms of understanding what they’re about this is one of my favorites. I will just tell you: if you have, can i see a show people here who have been to stone mountain georgia? So there are some people and i’m glad to see that, but i’m betting, you don’t, know the entire story of stone, mountain georgia, because on thanksgiving eve in 1915, william joseph simmons took these things to stone mountain georgia.

He took bricks where he made an altar. He took the american flag, he took the holy bible, he took an unsheathed sword and he took a boss and he made himself the new imperial wizard of the kkk that’s. What stone mountain georgia is. It is a monument to the kkk. Now its history is interesting. That’S, what it looks like it is: the largest bass relief in the world, jefferson, davis, robert e lee and thomas stonewall jackson conceived in 1912 by the united daughters of the confederacy deeded to the united daughters in 1916. They started working on it with the kkk in 1922, but it was abandoned for 36 years until the state of georgia purchased it and created the stone mountain memorial association to complete the project and it was completed in 1972. And finally, this one. I got a call from a washington post reporter several weeks ago and he said i want to talk to you about these monuments that have been in the news a little bit recently and i’m, having some confusion. Uh. First of all, did you know that there was a confederate monument in arlington national cemetery, and i told him no. I had no idea – and he said well it’s not on like. If you take the tour there, they don’t really take you by it. They kind of point at it and say, and over there there’s a confederate monument and they kind of push you on by, but he said i have some questions about it and have you ever seen it i told him i haven’t been there.

I had no idea, it was there and he says well i’m trying to figure out what is a mammy, and i asked him to repeat his words. I said what did you say and he said i’m trying to figure out what is a mammy and i said: well, i can tell you what a mammy is, and i said, you’re going to see a black woman with a handkerchief around her head holding on to One or two white kids and he’s like hold on hold on hold it. I thought you hadn’t been to the monument and i said no, i haven’t, i just grew up in america. I grew up black in america. I grew up in the south in america and i know exactly what a mammy is. This is from the website of the arlington national cemetery. The vignettes include a slave following his young master, an officer kissing his infant child in the arms of her manny. This is definitely a monument to history, but monuments are built to honor history. I am not honored by this, and neither is any other black person in america.