This is what I know. I may not have it exact. Some of my love for the old south is based on fiction and a longing for a genteel civility. The view of reality is different through the writing of Margaret Mitchell than Rick Bragg. I don’t know where to place Harper Lee. The stories told by each of us depend upon the atmosphere we lived in and customs we breathed. I am not ignorant nor naïve. I have heard and read the stories by Vernon Jordan of his own lawyering experiences on behalf of Blacks as late as the 50s and 60s. His stories are sobering! They can shut me down.
Of the military people I have read and heard about, I think I would like most of all to have Robert E. Lee and his wife to sit on my porch.
Headlines are that Governor of Virginia is going to “pursue removing the Lee statue from Monument Avenue in Richmond.” Excuse me? Monument Avenue? A street lined with statues of people who influenced the state of Virginia or factored in her history? I thought the Lee statue was going to be removed from the entrance to the state capital building or similar place. I thought it would serve all of the local folks to place it in an appropriate park. Monument Avenue seems the exact appropriate place it should stand. Monument Ave which has a statue of Tiger Woods. Does the statue of Woods endorse his immorality, drug use and life-choices? Of course not.
Lincoln had asked Lee to head up the Union Armies, but his home state needed him. Robert E. Lee was superintendent of West Point. Virginia—his home—needed him. He was against secession and identified himself as the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.
President Lincoln’s words, attitude and actions toward Lee and the soldiers of the Confederacy at the war’s end were forgiveness, pardon, redemption and reconciliation. Perhaps we should take our cue from President Lincoln.
After the war Robert E. Lee committed himself to providing educational opportunities for young Blacks, He was president of Washington & Lee College. Washington being President George and Lee being Robert E..
I read an article that asked why the Lees had/have a home on government property named Arlington. The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. The author apparently didn’t know that Arlington was the name of land owned by the family of Mrs. Lee (great-granddaughter of Martha Washington) The Arlington House is where the Lee family lived before the war and then deeded it to the USA for use.
The missing rational factor of the past couple of years is redemption. Is there redemption? Can lives be changed? Can people change? Ask Jesus. I want to know what the generals did after the war. It is called grace on purpose.
There is a current line of thinking that we need more statues, not less. I’ve been reading (slowly) a biography of Booker T. Washington who was born with a mother praying over him asking God to help Mr. Lincoln to bring freedom for her son as she cooked meals for her “owner.” Booker T. Washington’s view of his race drew the anger of many contemporaries. He saw his people being and doing what God chose Israel to do. They would be a “chosen people, a royal priesthood….” He went to Tuskegee to teach the “mechanics of living,” and how to be the people God could use. And! How they whom he called Negroes, could prosper.
I wonder if this is where the Seven Mountain Mandate and the spirit of Tuskegee intersect. That is what Oral Roberts had in mind when he built the university. To develop people who will touch the country and the world and their image will find its place onto Monument Avenue.
Thank you for listening. I’m just trying to figure this out.
More statues to celebrate lives well lived and invested.
©2017 D. Dean Benton—firstname.lastname@example.org—–Just wondering