Support for plaque removal

6

To the Editor:

The chasm, unfortunately, is not closed, as much as we would like it to be. We’re referring to the sentence on the plaque on the Civil War statue in Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs. That sentence — “The chasm is closed” — rings hollow today. The rest of the plaque reads, “In memory of the restored union, this tablet is dedicated by Union veterans of the Civil War and patriotic citizens of Martha’s Vineyard in honor of the Confederate soldiers.” A monument to the bravery of the Union Army is one thing; a tribute to honor a cause that promoted and defended slavery is quite another.

We stand in agreement with the Martha’s Vineyard chapter of the NAACP that these plaques should be removed and donated as historical items to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

We stand in support of what chapter president Erik Blake told the MV Times, “I don’t think the govern

ment of Oak Bluffs should be publicly honoring the Confederates … [The plaques are] a piece of history, but should not be displayed in honor; [they] belong in the museum.” The NAACP is not asking for removal of the statue. The issue at hand is the wording of the message on the monument erected by former Confederate soldier and Vineyard newspaper publisher Charles Strahan in 1891.

We are the Martha’s Vineyard Social Justice Leadership Foundation. Our mission is to empower Island groups and individuals to transform racial and social injustices through grantmaking, education, and advocacy. Our vision statement is simple: A fair and just Island for all. Our organization has been responsible for holding valuable symposiums on immigrant rights in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union, and in arranging a town hall meeting at the Performing Arts Center featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren. We can be found online at social justicemv.org.

“Monuments to the ‘lost cause’ will prove monuments of folly … in the memories of a wicked rebellion which they must necessarily perpetuate … It is a needless record of stupidity and wrong.”  –Frederick Douglas, 1870

 

Laurie Perry, president
Martha’s Vineyard Social Justice Leadership Foundation

6 COMMENTS

  1. Alright so remove the plaques, don’t remove them whatever. The writers and speakers who keep saying “the chasm is not closed” are missing the point – and if they understood what that means maybe they would have a different viewpoint.
    The “chasm” is not about race, social justice etc, the chasm was the devide between American soldiers carrying out their orders to kill their fellow American soldiers. You can get bogged down in the minutia of “we don’t honor the Germans or Japanese” but that is a completely false narrative- union or confederate they were Americans, and time period wise much less centralized than we are today. All I’m saying is don’t misrepresent the language. This is essentially one group of soldiers to another, although I understand this concept to be unfamiliar with the sjw crowd.

    • Persons of color served in the military and history reports they suffered atrocities if captured by Confederate troops. Did we ask black veterans or families whether the chasm was closed when the statue was erected? Or because people of color not having the right to vote until 1920, is the defense their opinion did not count?

  2. Whaleoildriller you are exactly right! Laurie Perry, Tucker, Chief Blake and King want to make it about race period. They have been told thousands of times what it about the chasm was the divide between American soldiers carrying out their orders to kill their fellow American soldiers and a simple Google would also show them but they insist to go the race card route as their angry vocalizations published in both island papers have shown.
    I personally believe and hope the plaques will stay as is.

  3. Something that keeps getting skipped over. It has been stated a few times that for a period the statue was painted gray. Oh NE, you’re grasping at straws. But why paint a statue, the thing was impervious to the elements and likely well before anyone cared about acid rain.

    Why paint gray a statue of a soldier from that war? The chasm wasn’t closed back then, either.

  4. The statue has been moved from it’s original location. It’s been painted several different colors. Plaques were added thirty years after it was placed in Oak Bluffs. Why such an uproar about making another change? Especially since nothing will be destroyed but preserved.

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