By Edward Norvell
As a adolescent I bethink benumbed by the Confederate Cairn “Fame” with my parents attractive up at the lovely, bronze, angel-like amount overextension her wings protectively over the collapsed soldier, and I anticipation of it as Salisbury’s guardian angel, watching over us with her alert eye.
I did not anticipate of the Confederacy; slavery; the Jim Crow era; abolishment of atramentous voting rights, abstracted but actual unequal; atramentous bodies actuality affected to go to abstracted schools, hospitals, libraries, doctors, lawyers, places of business, places of adoration and abstracted neighborhoods. I did not apperceive that abounding of my neighbors saw that bronze in a badly altered way than I did.
Then I abstruse that Fame was erected in the aboriginal 1900s, about two years afterwards the abhorrent lynchings that occurred in Salisbury in 1906. It was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, one of whom was my abundant aunt, to account the soldiers from Rowan Canton who fought and died arresting the Confederacy in a abhorrent Civil War that about tore our country in two and area added Americans died than in any added war.
I additionally abstruse that it was erected anon afterwards an alteration was added to the North Carolina Constitution that finer blank the majority of Atramentous bodies in the state.
Some appetite the bronze removed. Some appetite it to remain. It charcoal a alienated attribute of a aching aeon in our history. To some, it ceremoniousness men who were traitors to our county. To others, it ceremoniousness Rowan Canton farmers and men arresting their acreage adjoin an advancing army.
Recently I was talking to a friend, Sam Cooper, a mural artist who grew up in Salisbury and has lived in Berlin, Germany, for abounding years. He told me he has been afterward the adventure of the statue. Then, he told me how Germany deals with a aching aeon of their past, the Nazi era.
He said they do not abolish the barrio from the Nazi Era. They let them acquaint a story.
I alone visited the abhorrent afterlife affected at Auschwitz, in Germany, back I was a academy student.
I will never balloon seeing the ovens and apartment abounding with suitcases, crutches, caster chairs and bogus limbs from those who died there. You can additionally appointment the huge amphitheater in Nuremburg, Germany, area Hitler aggregate his affair faithful. There are no statues of Hitler or swastikas. They came bottomward anon afterwards the war, but added reminders abide to acquaint the adventure so all will apprentice from history and cartel not echo it.
Sam told me he anticipation that we should not move the monument. We should leave it and amusement it as a teaching tool. Put up a kiosk or advice lath agnate to the Civil War markers at the Hall House, the old Rowan Court abode and the Confederate Prison with a QR cipher that refers readers to a website that gives alike added detail.
This advice lath should put the bronze in context, acquaint about the Jim Crow Era back Atramentous bodies were finer re-enslaved in the South.
As the biographer and philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot bethink the accomplished are accursed to echo it.”
Also adapted for today is the adduce from William Faulkner, “The accomplished isn’t dead, it isn’t alike past.”
I say we cannot change the past, but we can change the future.
My aboveboard achievement is that we can appear calm and advance a plan to accord with “Fame” that the association can accede on.
We accept accustomed those who are active in the Freedman’s cemetery. We are in the action of anniversary those who are active in the Dixonville Cemetery.
We charge to do added to account those African-Americans who accept contributed so abundant to our community. The account is continued — Dr. Joseph C. Price, Dr. James Aggrey, Dr. Sam Duncan, Elizabeth Duncan Koontz, Wiley Lash, Albert Aymer, Al Heggins and the abounding atramentous men and women who went on to serve our country as judges, clergy, educators, musicians, ambassadors, diplomats, generals and aggressive men and women, aloof to acknowledgment a few.
Let’s not booty abroad the memorials of the past. Let’s add to them and acquaint our accomplished story, the acceptable and the bad, so that we will apprentice from our accomplished and be a bigger bodies for it.
Let’s appear calm as a association like we did at Hood Theological Seminary afterwards the annihilation at Mother Immanuel abbey in Charleston, S.C. and activate a chat to accomplish to analytic our problems, get above statues and accouterment the absolutely adamantine issues adverse us like affordable housing, fair housing, according opportunity, education, admission to affordable bloom care, jobs, bread-and-butter development, ancestral adequation and ancestral reconciliation.
Edward Norvell is an advocate in Salisbury.
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