To the Editor:
I was formerly a social studies teacher at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, for 27 years. I taught U.S. history, and obviously for my students, including Chief Blake, I tried to give them an appreciation of not only learning history but taking action when necessary.
Through the past few weeks, I have been reading the arguments related to the removal of the two plaques at the base of the monument in Oak Bluffs, and thought about what Islanders were saying. We need to be cautious when we think that removal of these plaques to a museum is taking away history. No, it’s just moving plaques to a museum where they belong in our study of history. We also need to be very careful that we don’t make light of the real pain that is caused by seeing plaques honoring a Confederacy that divided our nation. These plaques not only “honor” the Confederate soldiers but the cause that they were fighting for: keeping the institution of slavery! The monument itself recognizes a war that tore us apart, but these plaques raise the stakes by honoring the soldiers who were fighting to keep slavery! Since when do we honor the enemy who killed so many of our young men?
Enough said, let’s be clear — we do not honor anyone who commits treason against us or tries to keep people enslaved. By all means, let’s keep the history by moving the plaques to the M.V. Museum where they belong. However, we, the people of Martha’s Vineyard, need to take this opportunity to correct a wrong that perhaps we did not notice, but now has been brought to our attention.