Plaques belong in the museum

3

To the Editor:

I don’t understand why some of our neighbors find it hard to comprehend and sympathize with the long-harbored feelings of anguish and insult that have culminated in the local NAACP’s request to remove the plaques at the base of the Union soldier statue — plaques which honor the Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

With the marked rise of nationalism, white supremacists, and hate groups in the past few years, alongside the horrific, indisputable, and continued killing of innocent and unarmed black boys and young men by police across the country, people are particularly sensitive to symbols of racism, especially those sanctioned by town and state governments. Confederate flags are being taken down, along with statues which pay tribute to the people and institutions that fought to promote the subjugation, hatred, and cruelty imposed on Africans brought to this country to supply a slave-based economy. This is occurring in many Southern cities. The majority of sentiment, even in the South, is that there is no place for government-sanctioned honor for symbols that have historic ties to the immoral enslavement of others. The era of slavery is a shameful period in our past that Americans must accept as wrong and commit to never repeating as we fight to root out the still alive and growing racism this country has harbored since its inception, beginning with the original white settlers’ treatment of the indigenous First Nation people.

Claims that there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville and the firing up of white nationalist sentiment that has resulted in the domestic terrorist slaughter of congregants in Jewish temples and black churches across the country, as well as bombing and arson attacks on black churches (including the three very recent ones in Louisiana just this month) are the exact reasons why these plaques need to come down. We should all be standing against any vestige of racism and hate. Let the plaques go to the M.V. Museum, and their story be told in that venue. “The chasm” is not closed. It is deeper today than ever — and widening — and we all need to voice bold opposition to the brazen bigotry that is rising among us and demonstrate that it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

There is no reason on earth to pay homage to soldiers who fought to perpetuate slavery. Doing so, and more pointedly, conspicuously, at the gateway to a most often visited Island town, creates dismay and confusion for Islanders and visitors alike. I hope we can reach a consensus that will be sensitive to the strong feelings of revulsion so many of us feel about these plaques. Let’s find a more appropriate place for them in the M.V. Museum, where their story and the sentiment behind them regarding the brotherhood felt by veterans fighting on opposing sides can be told in a historic framework and seen clearly in that light.

Ann Rosenkranz
Vineyard Haven

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I meant to say I find it impossible to understand why anyone would not put these plaques in the museum, where they belong.

  2. Ms Rosenkranz. Respectfully you dont know how to define ”nationalism” and neither do most of us. You have never met a white supremacist and the hate groups narrative is old and stale since it mostly means anyone one disagrees with. Your complete exaggeration of police killing unarmed youth is stunning in its ignorance of statistics. America is a kind nation and is not racist. In 330 million people you will always find people who commit terrible crimes. Police protect us and are to be respected as those putting themselves on the line and in danger. America has done more to combat slavery than any other nation and has done more for restitution to help lift up african-americans. Your ideological dislike of Trump manifests this hyperbole and it is not praiseworthy.

  3. Gee Ann Rosenkranz, you have the whole issue / meaning wrong of the monument and the plaques in question. Where are you getting your information from? The words “The chasm” and “honor” that you and they claim about is racist, slavery and whatever is totally wrong it is not about that at all.
    Rather than trying to uselessly explain it all to you the true meaning of the statue and the plaques just listen to what the veterans spoke about the night of that selectmen’s meeting then do some homework seeing you have a computer and assuming you have Google.
    There is no changing the minds of the NAACP nor yours so I will save myself the time and frustration. The Chief put himself in a heck of a spot but that is what he signed up for.
    And BTW what museum did you have in mind to store them away in some dusty closet in? The new MV Museum has no interest in touching this hot issue.
    Actually you might be wise to zip over to that museum and read what they have in their library concerning the true history of that Statue and it’s meaning. Obviously those at the NAACP, the recent summer visitor King who started this campaign nor the Chief have done so.
    Hopefully if OB survives this summer dealing with this senseless nonsense the voters of Oak Bluffs once named Cottage City when the Statue was first erected will vote at their next town meeting to keep the entire Statue as is then chalk this up to a senseless bad dream.

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