“Whatever personal qualities they might have had, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are known to history for one reason: and that is they lead the armies of the Confederate States of America,” said Melvin Ely, a history professor at William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Va.
“Washington and Jefferson, for all their flaws, achieved many things in their careers which have proved crucial to the development of the United States as a democratic republic,” he said.
.. While defenders laud the statues as testaments to Southern bravery and memorials to lost lives, detractors consider them inseparable from the violent movement to fracture the U.S. and keep African-Americans in bondage... Many of these local decisions have followed acts of violence. In the aftermath of the Charleston, S.C., mass shooting in 2015, for example, Nikki Haley, the state’s governor at the time, helped lead a move to remove a Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds... Each state gets to display two statues to commemorate notable people. There are about 10 Confederate soldiers and politicians in the Capitol, including a statue of Lee, placed in the Statuary Hall collection by Virginia...Two great-great grandsons of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson urged the mayor and monument commission to remove the statues in a letter Wednesday.
“Last weekend, Charlottesville showed us unequivocally that Confederate statues offer pre-existing iconography for racists,” wrote William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian.
“Confederate monuments like the Jackson statue were never intended as benign symbols,” they wrote. “Rather, they were the clearly articulated artwork of white supremacy.”