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When Were Confederate Statues Built?

Kevin Drum’s post, The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues, provides the associated chart about the timing of confederate monument and statue building.

This illustrates something that even a lot of liberals don’t always get. Most of these monuments were not erected after the Civil War. In fact, all the way to 1890 there were very few statues or monuments dedicated to Confederate leaders. Most of them were built much later.

This is an excellent example of how data and a good graphic helps tell an important story.

Yes, these monuments were put up to honor Confederate leaders. But the timing of the monument building makes it pretty clear what the real motivation was: to physically symbolize white terror against blacks. They were mostly built during times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of subjugation against blacks, and during those campaigns the message sent by a statue of Robert E. Lee in front of a courthouse was loud and clear.

Drum’s post, worth a quick read, links to the Southern Poverty Law Center report that contains this and other data and excellent graphics for a QL course. It is worth recalling the first statement of sustainability on our Defining Sustainability Page:  The current state of people is not a morally acceptable endpoint of societal development.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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