“. . . this seems an apt moment to speak in memory’s defense. As Confederate battle flags flap from truck grills and monuments, as tourists gather around pigeon-stained statues of dead rebels baking under the Dixie sun, as Southern apologists seek glory in acts of treason, and as all of the above studiously avoid coming too close to the heart of the matter, to its cause, it is worth remembering that their forebears were not as circumspect.
To the contrary, they said clearly and without shame that they fought for slavery.
If that makes someone uncomfortable, good. It should.
But you do not deal with that discomfort by telling lies of omission about yesterday. You do not deal with it by pretending treason is glory. No, you deal with it by listening to the hard things the past has to say and learning from them.
This nation took so much from the men and women it kidnapped. It took dignity, it took labor, it took family, it took home, it took names. In the end, the last thing any of us has is the memory of ourselves we bequeath the future, the reminder that we were here.
And to their everlasting dishonor, some of us want to take that, too.”
—Leonard Pitts Jr., “A Conspiracy of Amnesia,” Miami Herald, April 12, 2011
5 thoughts on “Unnecessary Revisions”
The hard things of the past are sometimes difficult indeed. Sometimes we choose to listen, and sometimes we don’t.
I often find myself on the sidelines of that battleground.
Making us think here, Sarah.
I came home from college and my mother handed me the spare car key. It was on a confederate flag key chain.
“Mom, you can’t run around with this thing.”
“Why not? I’m southern.”
And she really, didn’t know. I explained, and then I was asked by my father why I always had to make something out of nothing.
It’s not about conservative v. liberal. I tried my best to explain and failed. And kept the key chain in my pocket all night.
And thank you for this tribute. Beautiful quote.
Beautiful, poignant, and necessary.
Leonard Pitts always make me think about the tough stuff — or stuff that shouldn’t be tough, but that we make it so.
I’m glad there are journalists like him.