Cal Thomas’ August 23 column was long on alliteration, but it came up well short in the area of fundamental logic. His fear that by eradicating confederate statues will somehow wipe our history “clean” is a sordid assault on the merits of their removal.
I presume his piece was written following President Trump’s assertion that, if the Confederate generals’ statues were moved, whose would be next - Washington’s or Jefferson’s? For the record, despite being slaveholders, Washington is considered the father of our country while Jefferson (who I proudly named my son after) was the father of American democracy. The Confederate generals were guilty of treason.
But speaking of “whitewashing history,” please allow me to reminisce about my high school American History textbook (circa 1963): There were no references as to the lynchings of black men in the south during the era when those statues were erected. No mention was made of any of the Harlem Renaissance artists or writers who told of the experiences of black citizens through their novels, poetry, music and art. Segregation and Jim Crow laws weren’t discussed. No reference to social reformers such as Frederick Douglass, A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. Du Bois or even Brown v. Board were included.
Ironically, my history teacher happened to be black, and he made sure that we learned considerably more than what the textbook omitted: The uprooting and internment of Japanese Americans, the attempted genocide of the Native Americans, the solicitation and subsequent mistreatment of immigrants, “redlining” of real estate, and many other atrocities that constitute our national shame as well as the wonderful parts of our history which we celebrate still today.
Fortunately, our children are being taught more of American history than we were. But remind me again, just what are we are going to lose if we move these statues to a museum of traitors?
BILL LUCERO, Topeka