Lately, I’ve been watching with interest the debate regarding the Confederate monument in Reidsville, NC . First, a little background:
The Confederate monument in Reidsville was the work of the Rockingham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. According to sources, about 7,000 men, women, and children gathered on June 29, 1910, to unveil the monument.
“The procession, which was a large one, was headed by a brass band of the city, carriages draped in Southern colors, the local military, Daughters of the Confederacy, and Junior and Children Chapters…. After the singing of “America,” Hon. H. R. Scott made a historical address, showing much research, and in conclusion presented the monument to the city in well-chosen words… Mayor Francis Womack accepted the handsome gift for the city, and Mr. E. R. Harris spoke the acceptance for the Scales-Boyd Camp. After the applause from the speeches subsided, Mrs. F. M. Williams, State President, assisted by Mrs. E. R. Harris and Mrs. G. L. Irvin, President and Vice President of the Rockingham Chapter, drew the cord, and the beautiful monument stood revealed. The rope used in the unveiling had been used at the monument at Gettysburg.
“Hon. Cyrus B. Watson was the orator of the occasion, and his speech abounded in beautiful tributes to the gallant men of Rockingham County who had bravely fought in many battles, and the heroes who fell were ‘wreathed around in glory’ through the noble words spoken in the honor…
“The monument is a granite shaft surmounted by a private in the Confederate uniform leaning on his gun….”
Of course, as many of you know, on May 23, a Greensboro man hit the monument, knocking the soldier off and destroying him. The Rockingham City Council is presently looking into whether it will replace the monument, move the monument, or use this as a opportunity to totally erase the monument from the public sphere.
And of course, the news media was quick to jump on the bandwagon. GoDanRiver.com ran a piece under the title: “History of Racism? Debate Continues in Reidsville” On reading this article, one would get the impression that the majority of people who attended the recent council meeting were against the statue being rebuilt. Another source I read (written by someone in attendance) stated that of the 35 people who spoke, 20 were in favor of rebuilding the statue, two were in favor of restoring it and moving it, and two were more concerned over tax payer’s dollars. So, that would leave six speakers not in favor of returning the statue. You will not get that sense of community support from the GoDanRiver article, which you can read here.
My two cents worth? Put the monument back as it was, at the expense of the driver. It should be a crime to do otherwise.
“True as the Steel of their Tried Blades: Heroes in Heart and Hand, They Fought Like Brave Men, Long and Well” – inscription Reidsville Confederate Monument.