It is bad enough that white supremacists are stirring up so much ferment, but they are also dishonoring the Confederacy and its flag. Sure, there was white supremacy involved back then, but the Confederacy was about a lot more. Slavery was the basis of their economic system, so they were fighting for their economic welfare. There was also states’ rights and their relationships with their family and friends. Certainly the latter was a major reason that Robert E. Lee resigned his U.S. commission and joined the Confederate States of America.

The Confederacy was not a movement just based on hatred, as is the current white supremacist movement. It is important to remember that. And we should also note that Lee did not think it appropriate to have monuments to the Confederacy, and that most, if not all, of these monuments were erected long after the war. They were usually erected to proclaim white supremacy. Why else would you have memorials to the people who fought against this government on government ground?

Let us remember that we are not a country built on hatred. The Civil War Memorial that I like to remember is in a town in West Virginia. The names of all the fallen from the area, North and South, are inscribed there together. They remembered all their fallen brothers and thus it becomes a memorial to a terrible time in our country’s history.

Sallie Smith (Sarah L.O. Smith)