James Layne 
Member since Apr 4, 2017


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Re: “Is Monument Avenue Set in Stone?

Isn't Style Weekly a Richmond publication? How then do you write such utter claptrap about an issue that is central to Richmond's history?? I've not read a more confused piece on the issue in years. Virginia DID NOT secede to perpetuate slavery. Had that been the purpose secession would have passed in Virginia when it was first attempted. Secession in Virginia followed Lincoln calling up an army against South Carolina. Virginia believed it was unconstitutional to force by arms a sister state who freely entered the Union from peacefully leaving. Virginia had nearly abolished slavery on more than one occasion and it wasn't nearly as important as in the Deep South.

Further, Lee personally opposed both slavery and secession, a fact not mentioned here. How do you omit these facts and still pretend to be intelligently discussing the issue?

Lee conducted the war in a way to avoid attacking civilians, unlike the northern armies that launched scorched earth total warfare in Georgia and elsewhere. Why isn't that talked about in this sorry excuse for an article?

The history is more complex than just slavery vs anti-slavery. Many in the north were not in favor of fighting over slavery. Lincoln himself said when the war commenced that it had nothing to do with abolishing slavery. It was about preserving the Union.

Slavery was a grave evil. We all know that. But to wipe away historical honors to those who conducted themselves with a great sense of duty and who, as Lee, fought to reunify the country after the war, is completely counter-productive. Add context if you wish. Explain when and why the monuments were placed. Explain how many very wrongly appropriated the confederate cause to perpetuate segregation, and condemn that as it should be.

But don't try to erase or simplify the past.

62 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by James Layne on 04/04/2017 at 4:16 PM

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