In defense of removing four statues to Confederate leaders, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu shines a light on history in the hopes of moving out of its dark, ugly shadow.
New Orleans has been a city for nearly 300 years, a sizeable portion of which it served as a hub of the US slave trade. When four statues to Confederate leaders were removed, protestors accused the city of trying to erase White European history and encouraged those who didn’t like their history go move elsewhere.
But if the Confederacy wasn’t about racism, where were the markers to identify slave markets or acknowledging the lynchings that occurred?
“For those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to historical malfeasance, a lie by omission,” he said.
Did You Know?
- In an impassioned speech, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city must acknowledge all facets of its history to learn from it.
- The now dismantled statues commemorated Robert E. Lee, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and the Battle of Liberty Place.
- Of the nearly 4,000 people lynched in America, 540 were lynched in Louisiana.
- The city also saw Freedom Riders, trying to help African Americans register to vote in the ‘60s, beaten bloody.
- The soul of New Orleans is “rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years, rooted in a diverse people,” Landrieu said.
- The diversity has been a strength of the city’s past but historically invoked anger as white men fathered children by freed or still enslaved Black women.
- Critics have exasperatedly asked whether Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home should also be destroyed.
- Some protestors decried the removal of the monuments at night, suggesting the New Orleans government was trying to hide its actions.
- Despite its shameful history in the slave trade, the influx of Caribbean, Haitian, African and Creole culture has given New Orleans its spirit.
- “The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history…these men did not fight for the US,” Landrieu said.
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- Urban Gumbo
- Mulattoes, Mixed Race, and Creoles