JAMES CLINGMAN

(TriceEdneyWire.com)  Many people are highly insulted by confederate statues and monuments, and they want them taken down and/or destroyed. Since the latest movement in New Orleans to eliminate these relics that commemorate folks who tried to secede from the Union, which resulted in a war that cost 700,000 lives, some Black people have been asking the questions: “Is it worth it?” “Should we be spending our time on other things?” “If all of the statues and monuments were eliminated tomorrow, would that help propel Black folks to a higher level in this country?”

Because I have never been involved in any protest or action to remove a statue, a flag, or a memorial that celebrates the Confederacy, I will not attempt to answer those questions for anyone who has or is engaged in protesting them.  But, I will offer my personal take on the matter.

Unless I was terrified by these inanimate objects, or they made me physically sick when I saw them, I wouldn’t care about them at all.  And so, I don’t care about them.  But I remember how my mother hated, I mean hated, the “Lawn Jockeys” we would see when as we rode in our car. She always said if she had an axe she would stop and destroy the little Black faced man holding the horse’s ring. (Many stories abound on its origin and purpose, too numerous to recite in this article) I guess my mother grew up seeing those little statues in West Virginia and was told they denoted hatred for Black people.

Having lived in the south during my teenage years, I experienced separate public accommodations. I went from a majority White school in Ohio to an all-Black school in North Carolina, in 1960 no less, and I liked it; those two years were the best of my life at that time.  I “grew-up” there and realized many positive things about Black people in the south when it came to ownership, education, and self-determination. I was inspired by what I saw in Black people—not discouraged.

I live in South Carolina now, and I see confederate flags on trucks, hats, shirts, and other paraphernalia—it doesn’t bother me a bit.  As long as the person wearing that stuff leaves me and mine alone, I’m fine.  I am not suggesting everyone be like me; I am just sharing my experience.

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