Confederate symbols across the south: Heritage or hate?

Federal Courthouse Texarkana
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The recent tragic shooting in Charleston has reignited debate on the display of memorials and relics of the Confederate States of America.

As the debate to remove the confederate flag from the state capitol grounds gains momentum other confederate monuments across the south are being spotlighted.

According to a list of monuments and memorials of the Confederate States of America on Wikipedia, Arkansas has by far the most. Texarkana is included on the list.

Texarkana’s confederate monument is in front of the federal courthouse at 500 N. State Line Avenue that was dedicated in 1918.  According to the Texas Historical Commission the Texarkana Confederate Memorial, “commemorates soldiers of the Confederacy and their mothers.”

This memorial features a statue of a Confederate soldier facing north above the statue of a Confederate mother. The inscription on the base of the soldier reads: “To our loyal Confederates.” The inscription on the mother’s base reads: “O Great Confederate Mothers, we would print your names on monuments, that men may read them as the years go by and tribute pay to you, who bore and nurtured hero sons and gave them solace on that darkest hour, when they came home with broken swords and guns.”

Across Texas monuments and school’s named after Confederate leaders are being challenged.

A University of Texas student government change.org petition to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the campus has gained renewed support since the church shooting.  “We, the undersigned, stand with the students of The University of Texas at Austin and ask you to immediately remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from campus,” starts the petition.

“Statues serve to glorify and memorialize the values of what the subject stood for,” says the petition.  “Given Jefferson Davis’ vehement support for the institution of slavery and white supremacy, we believe this statue is not in line with the university’s core values—learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility.”

Recently politicians on both sides of the aisle have come out against the public use of Confederate symbolism in society.

“I salute Governor Haley and the other people of South Carolina for saying look, if this is a distraction, if this is something that inflames people, it’s not that important to us,” Mike Huckabee, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said on Fox News. “What’s more important is a state where we can create the kind of atmosphere that we saw out of the church members of Charleston.”

 

Mitt Romney’s June 20 twitter post, “take down the at the SC Capitol. To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor victims,” received a reply on twitter from President Obama of, “good point, Mitt.”

Most national retailers have stopped selling confederate flag merchandise.

While politicians across both sides of the isle are for the most part in agreement the same can not be said for the people of the south. An image of the Confederate Flag with the caption, “if this flag offends you you need a history lesson.” has been shared over 135,000 times on Facebook in the last two days.

Supporters claim the flag is a symbol representing the south and not a symbol of racism.

 

Map of Confederate Monuments near Texarkana.

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