.. There have been only three fleeting periods in the past half-century when the U.S. unemployment rate was as low as it is today.Low unemployment of the late 1960s preceded an inflation spiral in the 1970s. The late 1990s bred the Dot-com bubble and bust. The mid-2000s saw the buildup and collapse of U.S. housing.
And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.
So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission.
.. There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.
.. The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.
.. It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.
These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.
After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.
.. Alexander Stephens
.. He said in his now famous ‘Cornerstone speech’ that the Confederacy’s
“cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
.. Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?
.. But like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “wait has almost always meant never.”
.. it’s always made me feel as if they were put there by people who don’t respect us.
So the first anti-slavery publication was published in 1700. It was called “The Selling Of Joseph” by Samuel Sewall. He was a wealthy Boston merchant and chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. What did this publication advocate?
WARREN: So Samuel Sewall’s an interesting guy. He was involved in the Salem witchcraft trials, and he was the only judge to later publicly recant his participation in those trials. He stood up in front of a congregation and apologized. He said he was wrong. So he’s a man given to self reflection. He’s not above humbling himself in public. And he writes this pamphlet called “The Selling Of Joseph” in which he says, basically, he’s troubled by the numbers of slaves that he sees in Boston and he wonders if this is an OK thing. And he says, no, it’s not, that this is not God’s work, that we’re bringing these slaves and then we’re not helping them and it’s wrong.
And it’s a startling pamphlet to read. What’s more interesting to me – so people often put him in sort of – he’s the origin of a lineage of Northern anti-slavery sentiment. But what’s more interesting to me is that he’s actually, for his time, wrong. A man named John Saffin responds to him and rebuts him point for point. And according to the thought of the time, Saffin is right. He says, no, what are you talking about? There’s a hierarchy in the world. God developed this hierarchy. Some people are born to serve, and this is them and the Bible justifies this.
He says, moreover, it’s not wrong to take them from Africa because we’re Christianizing them, you know, what do you mean that that isn’t right? Of course we’re saving them.
And Sewall’s pamphlet falls into oblivion, really. It’s not, (laughter), it’s not welcomed by anyone in the region. His own son later advertises for slaves. So even in his own family, he has little effect.
some people accused them of being witches as a result, because it was believed that the devil controlled the Indians. And since the devil also controlled witches it was easy for people to conflate witches and Indians in their minds. The Indians were winning this war and the late 17th century English settlers, the Puritans, put the two things together and decided that the reason they couldn’t defeat the Indians was that the devil was helping them—and the witches, of course. That’s the main thing that happened in 1692 to make it such an explosion, because there had always been witch craft accusations in New England, but they come in ones or twos or threes—there were about 150 accusations in 1692, leading to 21 executions.
.. The big witch hunts were mostly in Switzerland and Germany, in a much earlier period. There was a comparable witch hunt in England during the English Civil War in the 1640s with hundreds of people accused and many executed. There was also a witch hunt in Scotland very soon after Salem in 1696 too, and that was really the last in the history of the Western world.