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More thoughts on history and statues

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Letter to the editor

I read with interest the article in the Sept. 17 edition about the Berry history professors’ work on understanding statues and monuments and maybe helping to chart “where do we go from here.”

Although most of the article was informative and, I hope, useful, one question and answer concerned me. A person asked the question about whether moving around or taking down statues amounted to changing history. It appeared she was given a not very polite put-down with the answer that “history is conveyed in lots of different forms” (quote is from a professor at the meeting).

This answer would imply that to take down a statue dedicated to the memory of soldiers is an okay thing because Shelby Foote or Bruce Catton or whoever also wrote a book about it. And a book is okay. If the statue is not okay and the book is okay, that sounds like taking both sides of the same issue. If you believe the statue is bad and should be taken down, shouldn’t you also believe the books should be removed from the shelves?

Many people might agree that the book should be removed also. Where does this end? Its ultimate end is in removal of the history which is what the person at the meeting was asking. We’ve seen people’s changing of history, whether by tearing up or knocking down statues or gathering up and burning books or, most horribly, the killing of those with opposing thoughts and opinions.

Perhaps this broader theme would have made for another meeting on the subject of statuary.