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Our lone Confederate memorial put under wraps until state can figure out what to do about it

Boarded up Confederate memorial

Boarded-up memorial to American traitors.

A memorial to the 13 Confederate soldiers who died while held on Georges Island - out of some 1,000 kept prisoner there - is now covered with wooden boards as the Baker administration determines if and how they can just get rid of the thing.

The state can't simply remove the marker - placed there in 1963 by the now defunct Boston chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy - because Georges Island is considered a "national historic landmark" due to its role in US military history, from early coastal defense to housing all those Confederate soldiers, officers and even politicians during the Civil War.

When WGBH took a look at the only Confederate memorial in Massachusetts in June, a spokesperson for the governor said he'd rather the thing be gone, because it's hardly something that would "support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts."

Before it was boxed up, visitors to the island could see a relatively anodyne memorial that listed the names of the dead - but one with the Confederate seal and motto - the Latin for "With God as our defender."

As with other chapters, the Boston chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy did its part to drum up the legend of the Lost Cause, of a noble band of freedom fighters set upon by evil Northerners, rather than the South being a construct aimed at enslaving millions and starting a war that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

In 1927, for example, the Globe reported on the chapter's new president, Mrs. Cecil B. Taylor (ladies of means back then used only their husband's name), who said

I shall endeavor to serve faithfully and well this organization, and I promise the same degree of devotion which animated those who, 65 years ago, gave lasting evidence of such courage and high purpose that the world still holds in affection the men and women who fought for the "lost cause."

The year before, the chapter erected a flagpole on Deer Island to fly the Confederate flag, over the grave of a Southern naval officer shot while trying to escape Georges Island, according to a Globe account at the time.

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Comments

Why is it impossible to use objects like this as an opportunity to actually understand our history, rather than obliterate the parts of it that we currently don't like?

Isn't enforced ignorance more in line with what those fascist clowns in Charlottesville want rather than what the rest of us want?

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"Isn't enforced ignorance more in line with what those fascist clowns in Charlottesville want rather than what the rest of us want?"

No, it SO isn't.

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Take a picture and put it in the museum. The history is preserved but the pride of place is removed.

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Stupid to make this part of a general campaign of hate against Trump and his voters. It stirs up support for statues and monuments nobody cared about before.

Take them down when everybody agrees and it's not part of this paranoid hostility towards people who don't agree with you.

If you want them taken down that's what you do. If you want to keep them for use as a weapon against people you hate, proceed as you were.

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Why not say "Don't put it up until everybody wants it?" We're talking about a memorial to a "noble cause" the purpose of which was turning human beings into property. Thousands of Massachusetts men died fighting against that cause, and it is an insult to them to memorialize it as "noble." It wasn't, and it isn't "paranoid hostility" to recognize that. Pretending that wanting to take the thing down is "hate" of long-dead advocates of slavery is particularly stupid. I wonder why you think they need defending.

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Place it in a museum, with contextualized information on both the history of the fort, and the racist organization called the Daughters of the Confederacy.

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Museums are for recording history and learning. Memorials are for honoring people. I don't think anybody has an issue with displaying confederate artifacts in museums. Memorials are different though. They are honoring people who dishonored themselves.

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Why honor the dead in a memorial if not for the specific reason of remembering the history they were a part of? A memorial and a museum share the same purpose.

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Good question.

Just put up a historic marker describing the use of the fort as a prison and be done with it.

Notice that Germany has no memorials to Nazis?

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remove the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common. Oh wait, that one's ok because it honors the "good guys ".

How about allowing the Gettysburg battlefield, which has numerous monuments to the "bad guys" ,to be sold to developers and turned into condos?

Removing a memorial to dead soldiers just because modern day society doesn't agree with the principles their side was fighting for is nothing more than whitewashing history and dishonoring the dead. And all because it has the "evil" word Confederate on it.

We as a society can and should do better than this.

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It's right behind the visitor center, which is really a small museum. But, yeah, they should NOT be honored here.

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"I don't think anybody has an issue with displaying confederate artifacts in museums."

Give it time, 20 years ago before the PC movement became the outright fascist brigade it is nowadays, there wasn't an issue with monuments like these, either.

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> there wasn't an issue with monuments like these, either.

There really was. Perhaps you were just oblivious to it.

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What Zach said.

The Georges Island visitor center does an excellent job explaining the history of the place (and then you get to go out and actually explore much of it). The memorial adds nothing to the history. It's simply an attempt to glorify men who were on the wrong side of history, who were not fighting for honor and justice, but for a barbaric slave state.

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Honoring fallen soldiers is a practice I think we can all respect. I don't know the backstory behind the chapter and I certainly don't give two frosted flakes about the monument, but the way I see it those men were given a choice: fight for a "barbaric slave state" (their homeland) or risk their lives and the lives of their families as defectors. Let's not forget this war began because of the treatment of slaves, not because slavery had become taboo.

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[T]he greatest efforts made by the defeated insurgents since the close of the war have been to promulgate the idea that the cause of liberty, justice, humanity, equality, and all the calendar of the virtues of freedom, suffered violence and wrong when the effort for southern independence failed. This is, of course, intended as a species of political cant, whereby the crime of treason might be covered with a counterfeit varnish of patriotism, so that the precipitators of the rebellion might go down in history hand in hand with the defenders of the government, thus wiping out with their own hands their own stains; a species of self-forgiveness amazing in its effrontery, when it is considered that life and property—justly forfeited by the laws of the country, of war, and of nations, through the magnanimity of the government and people—was not exacted from them.
— George Henry Thomas, November 1868[14]

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tlndr. can someone condense this into tweet form?

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This monumennt isn't glorifying anybody; it is commemorating the dead. Read Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. Keene NH Memorial Day Speech on remembering the Civil War dead. Holmes was wounded three times in the Civil War; later was on the Mass Supreme Court and was likely the gteatest justice to ever serve on the US Supreme Court.

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It features the Confederate seal. No, it's not like a statue of Lee or Jackson on a horse, but it honors a losing cause nonetheless. And it was not placed there by anybody who actually even knew the men, but by a group that had been trying for decades to make the South appear somehow noble.

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This was a direct assertion of the values of the Confederacy at a time when blacks were rallying for their rights.

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Because the soldiers who died served in the Confeferate Army. Which is sort of important here.

To twist a memorial to the fallen into a tacit endorsement of the principles the Confederacy stood for is such a stretch that it boggles the mind.

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who (again):

worked to promulgate the mythology of the Lost Cause
[and]
regarded slavery as a benevolent institution — that planters were not mean to their slaves,” she added. “If anything, [planters] imparted Christianity to — they would call them savages. They would use that word.

Why is this saving this so important to you?

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important to you? And no, I don't support the ideals the Confederacy stood for. But I understand the importance of respecting the dead, and of not whitewashing history just because somebody decides it's inconvenient to acknowledge the truth.

The fact that the MEMORIAL includes the Confeferate seal, or was installed by the Daughters of the Confederacy, are NOT legitimate justifications to remove the marker, but are poor excuses to justify a PC agenda.

And if you still disagree with me, spend a day at Gettysburg Battlefield (I've been twice) and then try arguing that the Confederate memorials there should be removed because they promote the ideals of the Confederacy.

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It's 2017 and the history is already recorded physically and digitally.

Even if it wasn't, it I isn't whitewashing history if the monument was a response by Dixiecrats to Brown vs the Board of Education and civil rights as a whole.

Motivation is EVERYTHING. This monument was racist propaganda.

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I can see that it is a piece of pro-confederacy propaganda that was put up in the height of the Civil Rights Era.
That's not "PC", it is just common sense.

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that society is facing instead of going "OMG, a MEMORIAL to soliders who DIED at this fort (which totally justifies its existence at this location) and has been there for several decades, is suddenly pro-Confederate propaganda just because it was put up by a pro-Confederate group". But let's waste time and energy on this TRIVIAL matter than addressing - oh say - gun violence in Boston neighborhoods. Because it's easier and makes us all warm and gooey and "we feel good" by doing a pointless act instead. Sorry if I don't agree with you that that's how government should be spending its time and resources - boarding up a MEMORIAL to fallen soldiers just because they were "on the wrong side of the fight."

Removing this legitimate MEMORIAL (how many times do I have to emphasize this) is a needless symbolic gesture driven by the reactionary "anything Confederate has suddenly become pure evil and should be removed from the landscape and the pages of history" PC crowd - and nothing more.

And you still haven't explained to us how this Confederate memorial differs from those in Gettysburg or other Civil War battlefield sites - which also are memorials to the fallen soldiers who supported the Confederacy - and why this memorial must be removed at all costs, but it's somehow OK for those memorials to remain in place.

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Go work on a real issue.

That's an awful lot of words for something so trivial.

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My mother used to have a line she'd use in restaurants, when someone was getting in her business about what she wanted to order: "You order for you and I'll order for me." Too bad your mother never said that to you. I suggest you run along and put your efforts behind whatever you think is a "real" issue, and if that's preserving the memory of a traitorous cause to enslave other human beings, then you do you.

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This Boston island stone is nothing compared to New England's largest Confederate monument: The Colt Armory in Hartford, Connecticut. The gun production center supported and armed the Confederacy for years. Samuel Colt, the head of the armory, was a well known Copperhead who hated Lincoln and sympathized with the South. His massive armory was burned down by Northerners and Colt died during the war. However his wife, Elizabeth Colt, built a mirror-image of the armory after the war as a dedication to her husband and started to clean up Sam's image ala Daughters-of-the-Confederacy-style. Hartford, in its shear desperation to have something, anything; has been trying to turn the armory into a US national park ala Lowell, no matter how many times the feds recite the armory's history to them. Imagine if Walsh and Baker tried to make this Confederate island stone and the Confederate components within Fort Warren a US National Park? They would be thrown out of office. But in Connecticut, praising and polishing New England's largest Confederate icon is a thing, with no local backlash.

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Instead of this new Faneuil Hall name change BS, New England should focus on this Colt dilemma. Walpole, done; G Island; pending, Colt; still alive and kicking. You should see the US rep who keeps pushing this Confederate Coltsville junk: Congressman John Larson, a short JFK wannabe. Hartford is not only financially bankrupt, its culturally bankrupt

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Obliterate parts of our history??!? It was put there in 1963! In fact, the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed many similar monuments across the country WELL after the civil war to propogate the "lost cause," which is a set of beliefs that describes the Confederate cause as a heroic one against great odds despite its defeat.

You can argue (rather easily) that the monuments were put up in the first place to alter the impressions of history.

With that said, the only ignorance enforced was by you when posting without doing your homework.

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"The dedication of Confederate monuments and the use of Confederate names and other iconography began shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865. But two distinct periods saw significant spikes. The first began around 1900 as Southern states were enacting Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise African Americans and re-segregate society after several decades of integration that followed Reconstruction. It lasted well into the 1920s, a period that also saw a strong revival of the Ku Klux Klan. The second period began in the mid-1950s and lasted until the late 1960s, the period encompassing the modern civil rights movement."
- SPLC

https://twitter.com/kevinmkruse/status/89725595095...

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They were forced from their homes at the end of the War of Colonial Aggression.

Where are the monuments? Have tiki torch, will travel!

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It all kind of reminds me of book burning

If you think this is like book burning....you should read a book.

I can't wait until Yawkey Way gets renamed. Racist, snowflake sox fans are going to be so butthurt....but no one in boston will care. the anger will come from new Hampshire and the south shore.

Go Cleveland! Go Houston! Go LA! anyone but the sox!

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...until your knee jerked with the reflexive Red Sox hating bullshit. You don't give a damn about Yawkey's racism and you know it, you're just an againsty child.

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Red Sox principal owner John Henry, saying he’s still “haunted” by the racist legacy of his legendary predecessor Tom Yawkey, told the Herald that his franchise welcomes renaming Yawkey Way. The Sox, he said, should take the lead in the process of rebranding the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park that was renamed to honor the former owner in 1977.

If it were up to Henry, he would rename the street “David Ortiz Way” or “Big Papi Way.”

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I'm from a town down South that has a statue of an infantryman that is a mirror image of the Civil War monument in Jamaica Plain and others like it in countless towns across rural Vermont, where Union casualty rates among Vermonters were high. These statues memorialize nameless boys, sons, brothers, husbands and fathers and went up around 1910, when veterans of the Civil War were dying off in large numbers, and with them our direct memory of the bloodiest war in U.S. history.

These memorials remind us that Americans are capable of killing one another by the hundreds of thousands when we are incapable of resolving disagreement by peaceful means in the political arena. At a time when neo-Nazis and anti-facists beat each other in the streets, this message is more relevant today than 100 years ago. For that reason, these memorials should not be carted off to museum storerooms but should remain on display in the public square, for all to see, lest we forget. (For the same reason, many Southern towns are now erecting public memorials to victims of horrific lynchings during Jim Crow. An honorable step. Very long overdue.)

By Gov. Baker's logic, if we don't agree with the side of the war the dead were on, they deserve to be dis-honored. One can make a case that the Vietnam War was unjust and morally wrong. Would the Governor have us remove memorials to the fallen in Vietnam? Strip POW flags from state properties?

Among some on the left in Europe, WWI is now viewed as an immoral war of imperialists. In the Highlands of Scotland, I have been through glens that are empty today because their villages lost an entire generation of their men in the "War to End All Wars." These boys fell in Flanders like toy soldiers in a bloody game between dueling royal grandsons of Queen Victoria. If you disagree with that cause, do you now strip these markers from memory? On each of these stone monuments is carved the Scots Gaelic word, CUIMHNICH -- "remember" -- lest we forget.

Tearing down statues like Jacobins and Bolsheviks will catalyze a counter-revolution from more violent reactionaries. History tells us that ultimately leads to civil war. Would that we had more sensible leaders to lead us peacefully through these senseless times.

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Servicemen in Vietnam were not traitors. They were not fighting against the government of a country many of their leaders took a solemn oath to uphold.

In contrast, the people imprisoned on Georges Island were traitors (along with some Northerners held and even executed there).

Honoring these traitors, 100 years after the fact (in the center of the abolition movement no less) is a dishonor to the tens of thousands of men who died to preserve the union (to say nothing of the millions of people these treasonous rebels were fighting to keep enslaved).

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All due respect, but one could also argue that the American Revolutionaries were traitors to the British Crown.

In no way does my comment justify the horrific acts committed on both sides. War itself is evil. Slavery itself is evil. Any gross human rights abuses are evil.

Should we tear down Revolutionary War monuments because of our traitorous actions against the British? Should the United States of America itself be dissolved because of the abhorrent acts of land theft and murder that were committed against Native Americans?

Men and boys on both sides were killers. Relatives fought one another during the American Revolution. Brothers, cousins fought each other during the Civil War. I am not saying that fighting for slavery is right - in fact, it is subject to harsh moral condemnation. Lives were lost. Perhaps we should erect a memorial on this site to commemorate the countless lives that were brutally stolen from the institution of slavery. In fact, the contrast between the two monuments might in itself speak volumes.

I understand that these analogies are imperfect, and I am open to hearing other perspectives on this. But I think it is telling that Germany has not completely demolished all evidence of the Holocaust because they recognize the importance of recognizing the impact of their history.

Let us learn from our wrongs, not bow to our shame and try to erase the evidence of them.

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There's that word again.

Get back to us when you finish your tour of memorials to American revolutionaries in England.

I know there's one statue of Washington in Trafalgar Square, put up in the 1920s after we helped the Brits out of a spot of bother. Good place to start your tour.

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I think this is a fair point, and I really appreciate your response. I was thinking about my comment after I posted it, and how applying it to Germany might also look. Should there be a monument commemorating Nazis who died? My instincts say definitely not. (And especially not in a location like a concentration camp.)

I'm not sure if I need to caveat that I am a Democrat. Perhaps the internet is not the best place to play devil's advocate, but I hope I can be clear that my intent is to gain a greater understanding of the issue - not to defend the atrocious actions of racists and murderers. I might not be explaining myself well enough, but for me personally, for whatever reason, it doesn't satisfy my understanding to just stop at "Tear it down, it represents an institution that was inherently violent." I already agree with that. I'm curious to know how deep these issues run, rather than end the conversation at the universal truth that human enslavement is evil. (For me, this is an academic pursuit as much as it is a moral one.)

Would you be willing to explain a bit more about what you meant when you said "We - There's that word again." I'm definitely interested to hear more of your perspective.

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The local monument to the fallen Viet Cong soldiers that'd be cool. Where is that, Quincy?

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Biotech Park Area, Worcester, MA 01605
massvvm.org

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I don't see that mentioned anywhere on the website.

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I misunderstood your question.

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That's a memorial to the folks from Massachusetts who died in the Vietnam War. No Viet Cong listed there.

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I wonder how far this conflict between the right and left escalates. Both sides seem convinced they have the high ground.

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Right wing "omg! white GENOCIDE" cries, white supremacist drivel about heritage, blood and soil, Confederate "values" etc. will NEVER have any high ground.

The world has spoken on this repeatedly. There is no equivalence. Ever. At all.

Go practice your salute in the bathroom mirror, please.

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If the fundamentalist right is calling for a white ethnostate, what equivalent horror is the fundamentalist left calling for?

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Universal health care.

Oh, the horror.

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They aren't a mirror image. They betrayed the union to preserve slavery and your Vietnam comparison makes no sense.

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if we don't agree with the side of the war the dead were on, they deserve to be dis-honored.

Nazi soldiers and the Confederate Army were not "a side of a war I don't agree with," they were enemies of my nation, and, in the latter case, guilty of treason. I don't want memorials to either in my country.

One can make a case that the Vietnam War was unjust and morally wrong.

Yes, one can make that case, but nevertheless the American GIs who died in Vietnam were fighting on our side; they were not our enemies as the Nazis and the Confederates were.

There's a very simple bright clear line here: Don't erect monuments to enemy dead on your own soil.

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Are the people who voted for Brexit considered guilty of treason against the EU? They probably see themselves as British/English patriots. That's how fans of the Confederacy see themselves.

I think the difference is that over time the USA has changed drastically from being a "federal REPUBLIC" to being a "FEDERAL republic". In the 1700's, states were more sovereign while the federal government had minimal power compared to today.

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Are the people who voted for Brexit considered guilty of treason against the EU?

Of course not. Now you're just being silly. And the people in the southern states who voted to secede from the union were not being treasonous either. Almost by definition, nothing you can do at the ballot box falls under the definition of treason.

They probably see themselves as British/English patriots. That's how fans of the Confederacy see themselves.

I understand that everyone, (and I mean everyone, even SS guards herding people into gas chambers or ISIS fighters beheading infidel children) thinks they are the good guys fighting for what is right and true and moral.

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Oceania is at war with Eurasia, and Leningrad is back to St. Petersburg.

You can still find a monument to Benedict Arnold's left boot on the battlefield at Saratoga, though.

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it's really nobody's business but the Turks.

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you can. you just can't have it on taxpayer-funded land.

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I guess the giant eggs weren't the first vessels of human waste on Deer Island.

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Noting the soldier's deaths doesn't make one a White Supremacist. For all we know they died fighting a war they themselves didn't understand or particularly support. It's not as if today's troops aren't sent to fight unjust wars for purely political reasons.

Covering the memorial won't make racism or hate go away. Removing it won't excuse the horrors of slavery or America's dirty history. We'll repeat the past if we're unable to learn from it so I'd rather see the memorial left standing but supplemented with the historical context.

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Everyone has learned from the confederate war already except for some of Trumps worst supporters. Those people aren't interested in learning, history or equality.

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So to be clear, you want us to honor those men by assuming they were idiots with no agency?

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To remind current and future generations that normal Americans have given their lives for unjust reasons and our history is full of complex and regretful conflicts. Maybe if people better studied the events which led to the civil war we'll be able resolve future conflicts without the need for more memorials.

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Those people weren't Americans. That was kind of the whole point of the war. They were Separatists and didn't consider themselves citizens of the USA.

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Those people weren't Americans. That was kind of the whole point of the war. They were Separatists and didn't consider themselves citizens of the USA.

They were indeed Americans. The Confederacy was something that was completely self-proclaimed, but had absolutely no legal basis to exist, and therefore did not. It was not a legal entity. These were Americans. Americans who took up arms against their own country, but Americans nonetheless.

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Americans who took up arms against their own country

As did Timothy McVeigh.

Timothy McVeigh does not deserve a place of honor either.

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They do not need nor deserve a place of honor.

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I don't see that particular monument as being honorific, just historical. (Unlike the confederate monuments being removed in the South.) And no, I don't think history should be limited to museums and textbooks.

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It was placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy who:

[...]the group worked to promulgate the mythology of the Lost Cause, which glorified all things Southern. [...][They]also regarded slavery as a benevolent institution — that planters were not mean to their slaves,” she added. “If anything, [planters] imparted Christianity to — they would call them savages. They would use that word.”

So I am comfortable saying it was put there as a place of honor and thus should be removed.

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No, it is simply a memorial to the fallen who died at the fort. It's been there for decades, so let's LEAVE IT BE instead of going all paranoid because it's - OMG - Confederate! That is applying common sense to the situation.

Sadly, this is another example of how we as a society are increasingly focused on trivial issues - like removing a MEMORIAL to the fallen - that in the long tern will MAKE NO DIFFERENCE.

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So had the institution of slavery.

It also isn't "just a memorial". It is a piece of flagrant propaganda.

Perhaps you should look up what, exactly, was going on in the South in 1963 that led the Daughters of the Confederacy to wander around the country putting up these "monuments" to the "noble cause" of their forefathers.

Something like their need to remind certain people to "keep their place" in the same way that you flip out when teenagers are given any agency.

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Memorial Church, in Harvard Yard, was built to commemorate Harvard's war dead. Inside you'll find plaques remembering myriad Harvard alumni who died in the service of their country... including some German alumni who died in the service of theirs.

Memorial Church is not to be confused with Memorial Hall, a dining hall on the other side of Cambridge Street that was built in the 1880's to commemorate Harvard's Civil War dead.

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A private institution can honor whomever it wants, so long as it doesn't do so on my nickel. Someone wants to erect a statute of Adolf Hitler on his own nickel on his own property, bully for him. We the people (through the agency of our government) should not stand in the way of that.

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The context of the failed slaver rebellion against the United States in the mid-19th century that lead to the imprisonment and death of those thirteen traitors, as well as the context of the neo-confederate whitewashing of the 20th century that put the blasphemous marker here in Boston?

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Covering the memorial won't make racism or hate go away. Removing it won't excuse the horrors of slavery or America's dirty history.

What's with the straw men? Is that what you believe is the reason to remove it?

It's not about ending racism or burying the past. It is about confronting history, specifically the revisionist history that the DOC actively pushed to remove slavery as a cause for the civil war.

These monuments and memorials we're put up for two reasons: To force people of color to recognize that the Confederacy power structure was still in place, hanging over their heads. And to rebrand their treason as the lost cause, to disassociate the Confederacy with everything it stood for in public, at least outside of back rooms. Wink. Nod.

FFS, Robert E Lee said they should not be build and would be seeking they be torn down.

As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; [and] of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”

He knew what was up. All you people playing coy do to.

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By REMOVING all traces of the history (in this case, the fallen soldiers, that a particular group has decided they don't happen to agree with.

That is NOT the way to teach people about the past.

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Read the thread before making these daft comments. Nobody is erasing anything but propaganda here. The museum and educational materials covering the role of the fort as a confederate POW camp are still in evidence and intact.

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Nt

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Lets leave it like this for a few years until both sides calm down a bit.

Perhaps in the meantime the decedents of the soldiers memorialized could be tracked down and offered a chance to give an opinion on what to do with the monument.

This anti-monument movement is misguided. Its like covering up the footprints behind you while you still keep walking in the same direction. Lets be angry about the actual present day experience of racism. Lets support the people living today, and make the world better for their decedents, instead of trying to erase the past we're embarrassed about.

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The thing sits behind a visitor center (really a small museum, with artifacts and everything) that explains the context of why these men were on Georges Island - without glorifying them or implying God was on their side.

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If it's already at one?

Georges Island isn't the easiest place to reach, by the way. It's not like this statue is on the Common where countless people would walk past it every day and be reminded of what it stands for (whatever that is).

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No need for it to exist - especially when it was placed there as part of a campaign by Confederate children to deify their "values" at a time when those "negros" was getting way to demanding of things like voting and an end to Jim Crow!

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Racism is wrong. End of story.

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I don't care what the great, great grandkids of racist traitors have to say. If they want to put a monument on their own property then have at it, but people from Boston died fighting their terrible ancestors so they should not be honored on Boston public property.

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You are pathetic.

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We run a real risk when we reduce every issue to a dichotomy of good/evil. A visit to Gettysburg will quickly cure anyone of the urge to glorify any aspect of the Civil War. The shear horror of 50,000+ dead Americans in a single battle, under miserable conditions, most of whom were poor, ignorant, conscripted, duped or otherwise not there because they fully understood and supported the political philosophy for which they fought. Clearly, in 2017 we should fully reject and refute the institution of slavery and its beneficiaries in both the South and the North. But we should still find a way to recognize and honor the pawns in the larger politico/economic struggle, both soldier and slave. The men that died at Georges Island, like Gettysburg, were sons and fathers and brothers and husbands and they likely died horrible deaths under terrible, inhumane conditions. It's difficult to ascribe to them the ability to appreciate the larger philosophical and moral issues in the context of mid 19th century America, so lets stop fighting that war, slavery lost. In fact, in some ways, we all lost something from having slavery and from the war to end it.

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You cannot and should not honor people who have no honor. They fought to enslave people based on the color of their skin. They ripped them from their homes, took away their children, tortured them, raped them and often murdered them. Then they betrayed and attacked the United States. Then they got their ass kicked in a war. You want to honor them?!?

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Confederate soldiers were, by and large, poor southern whites who owned no slaves and only wanted to protect their homes and families from an invading army. Yes, slavery was (and remains) evil, but you can't extend the blame for that to every rank-and-file soldier. Slavery was the institution of the great planters, the semi-feudal elite that lorded it over the south. They are the ones to blame, not the poor farmers whose sons made up the bulk of the armies.

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Citation please.
Please don't blame the poor for slavery. How ignorant!

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They are the ones to blame, not the poor farmers whose sons made up the bulk of the armies.

Elites have always been good at getting the poor slob, for whom they have no respect and with whom they really have no common cause, to take up arms on their behalf.

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

(sauce)

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If I remember correctly, the monument simply states that confederate prisoners of war were held there and 13 confederate of those soldiers died; along with other facts regarding the fort not the civil war. Hardly glorifying the civil war and\or the confederate soldiers.

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for only the confederate soldiers who died? Or more pointedly, why would one?

In fact, it is signalling out the confederate prisoners who died (or those who committed treason against the Union) and that, in itself, is a form of glorification and is not appropriate.

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Because union soldiers didn't die on George's Island?

I think the inscription should have enough context to show that 13 soldiers dying out of 1000 prisoners shows the fort was no Andersonville.

But a plaque to remember that the island was used for the war is perfectly appropriate.

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In fact, they were executed for a particularly odious form of desertion (they'd sign up, get the bonus the government was then paying, desert, go to another state, sign up there, etc.).

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Can anyone provide another example of a public memorial to enemy prisoners of war?

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Many markers and monuments regarding the British from the revolutionary war, the most famous of which are in Concord, MA.

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Marking the graves of fallen combatants is different. Very different. If these were grave markers for those 13 soldiers, then that would be a discussion like the one you think you are in, but aren't

This monument was a glorification of hatred, slavery, and white supremacy put up right after the civil rights act passed.

Very different.

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But does it have Georges seal on it and was it put there by British folk claiming they we're just trying to keep the peace and uphold law and order?

Again, the issue isn't a marker of history or the actual history.

The issue is it was put there by the DOC for a very specific campaign to distort, retard, and rewrite history. That's wrong, and we should correct that Injustice.

It's wrong to have propaganda on public land, it's wrong to the Massachusetts sons that died for us, and it's even wrong to the Confederate soldiers that died and are having their own history rewritten for them.

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Commemorating POWs? Can you give me an example of what they say?

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I was in Johannesburg for work a few years back. I went to a museum the first weekend that I was there. The brochure said, "Apartheid is in a museum where it belongs." I think that's the model to follow.

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George Washington, 56 year owner of slaves. Plan?

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Gosh, the ancient Romans owned slaves, too. Should we just abandon Democracy entirely, to be safe?

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"Abandon Democracy" is a key plank of Trump's platform.

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The Greeks are probably a bit more what you were aiming for seeing how they are generally credited with having the first democratic society. On the other hand, the Romans are where we get the root word for fascism from their word fasces.

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Most of the population of ancient Athens were slaves.

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Yes, he owned slaves and this point should always be discussed when discussing the founders who did own slaves. But Washington worked, as our first President, to keep the new and delicate union of the states together as one and did not commit treason to tear it apart.

Harrumph to you, sir.

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Washington was not a TRAITOR actively engaged in TREASON like Fishy.

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You are so far a field that I can't even see you anymore.

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If you are walking by a statue of George Washington in a public park and you son/daughter asks who he was, you say "this man was our first president and revolutionary war hero". If you walk by a Robert E Lee statue what do you say? "this is a man who lead battles of treason against the United States in an effort to keep slaves". Theres nuances to the history for sure, but what do they stand for? One is for liberty and our nation, the other is a traitor.

Now imagine if your son or daughter is a person of color? "Daddy why is a person fighting for slaves put in our park?!" See the kind of message that sends?

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George Washington, 56 year owner of slaves. Plan?

Did. not. take. up. arms. against. America.

Capisce?

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Took up arms against his government, a traitor just like Lee.

Except he was on the winning side.

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Was on MY side.

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I bet there aren't too many statues of George Washington in England.

PS - The one in Trafalgar Square didn't arrive until after WWI when we were buddies again.

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I think we're desperately lacking a statue of him if that's the go/no-go criteria that you seem hell-bent on following.

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tu quoque

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For FISH to suggest that we need to deal with Washington's many streets of Boston because he's also a slaveholder, is his attempt to tu quoque people's disdain for a Confederate memorial in Boston Harbor. It is even founded on the fallacy of red herring that the reason for wanting the Confederate memorial gone is just that the South was defending slavery, thus we must take up cause against all slaveholders. Nobody has said that, FISH is inferring it in his argument regarding Washington (which he's cribbed from Trump and I'm sure some moron at Fox News and/or Alex Jones).

By using that same argument in a more absurd way (I clearly don't think we need a statue to Hitler) back at him, I expose the stupidity of his argument...because it looks ever so slightly more stupid the second time.

Good catch. You're learning well.

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I really respect your comment, and I'm actually interested in hearing a more in-depth explanation of "tu quoque." (Aside from what Wikipedia can tell me.)

While many of us disagree with what FISH says, I hope that we can continue to unpack this conversation to reach a point of understanding without name calling or accusations. As a hard-left Democrat who often plays devil's advocate, I think we can gain a lot of knowledge from each other without resorting to speech that causes both sides to shut down the conversation.

I think that if we each try to view things from the others' perspective, we can gain a much deeper understanding of our own beliefs. I often try to argue against my own beliefs (in safe company, not with the intention of causing violence with my words), and find myself with a greater depth of the convictions that I stand beside.

Would you be willing to give a few more examples of "tu quoque" so that I might better understand the concept, and be able to apply it in the future? The pursuit of knowledge is something I really value, and I'd love to hear more of your input.

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It is a simple plaque that lists the names of the thirteen Greys that died while imprisoned there. Thirteen. In Avdersonville almost thirteen thousand died at the hands of the slave holders. This should be remade as a monument to our humanity and compassion.

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If the intent was simply to memorialize the dead, why was it erected in 1963? Why was the Lee statue in Charlottesville erected in the 1920s? The timing is significant and says much about motive.

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If we can do that, we can acknowledge that some Confederate prisoners of war died at Georges Island. Perhaps with a different memorial than the one covered up here.

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The Redcoats were defending their right to tax their colonies as they saw fit, whereas the Confederates were defending the right to own human chattel. Not exactly analogous.

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The end of owning people as chattel slaves in MA ended with the revolution.

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...the memorials were not erected by the British in a time when they were using terrorism and a corrupt legal and judicial system to regain/reassert their control over their former colonial possessions. The same cannot be said of Confederate monuments.

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Some of them are graves to the fallen and are kept in memoriam as an act of reconciliation with a former adversary who is, and has been for a very long time, a great friend and ally to this nation (not to mention, many of the British soldiers were either conscripted (many were poor Irish, Welsh, and Scots), or had no other choice but to serve the Crown).

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Also except that the memorial to the redcoats was not put in place by a group whose intent was to legitimize the cause for which those redcoats fought. The issue with the civil war memorials is that they were erected during the heart of Jim
Crow or in the midst of the civil rights movement to undo Jim Crow as a way of trying to assert control over the changing balance of social power caused first by the civil war and emancipation and then further by the civil rights act of 1964. These are not memorials to the memory of the people featured. They are political symbols to those who erected them and for their sympathizers of a time when they enjoyed racially based hegemony and as a rallying point to try to justify that cause politically.

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These are gravesites. The colonists defended their property, but they had the decency to document the people who were killed, give them a decent burial, and contact their relatives.

They are not memorials to the valiant cause of monarchy.

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Out of sheer curiosity, what do you think people's reactions would be if the monument were replaced with headstones?

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They are not actually buried there. The redcoats were buried there.

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Give it to the guy driving the pickup I saw on rte 2 in Westminster, with big Confederate and USA flags flying, and the tailgate painted like a Confederate flag. This was on Sunday, the day after the Charlottesville mess. I mean, really?

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Imagine being so dumb and ignorant of history that you fly the American flag and also the flag of the traitors who attacked America. The better place for this monument is at this guy's trailer next to crushed cans of Bud Light and discarded Marlboro's and Big Macs.

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If we are up for the challenge - and it is an exhausting challenge - what could we do to open the doors to conversation with these people? Perhaps there are some things we can do or say to help them better recognize that symbols like the Confederate flag can signify a history of violence (and a present day of violence, too).

It's really hard to keep pushing for good when the other side seems so firmly rooted in the beliefs that harm so many. I hope we can continue to try to engage and enlighten them, rather than dismissing all racists/sexists/ageists/classists/etc. as lost causes.

We've been shouting at each other for so long, and it hasn't worked yet. Maybe some compassion, some empathy, would bring us all some peace. An institution such as slavery, and its modern-day forms in institutionalized racism, have painful connotations of an entire peoples brutalized, silenced, and stripped of their humanity. What good do we do when we enact violence? What good do we bring into the world by silencing the other side, degrading them, name calling, and treating them with disregard?

Slavery is wrong. Racism is wrong. We do not have to view these things as "right" in order to engage people that may consciously or unconsciously hold these beliefs. "Hate the sin, not the sinner," seems to come to mind, although I am by no means a person of faith. However, it does strike me that it is far easier to hate than it is to love. I think that both sides can agree that love, beyond anything, is crucial.

What do you think some beneficial tactics of combating hate would be? I'm really interested to hear your opinion.

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What they need is deprogramming.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xd5ywk/formers-exit-sweden-neo-nazism

There are similar programs to reduce radicalizing of young people ala ISIS and AlQaida.

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So after all the monuments are down all the guilt-laden white people will look for their next target, say the Mark Twain House in Hartford, he used the "N" word in Huckleberry Finn.

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One stupid motherfuckers bugs...

What else did you steal off someone's talking points memo that is rattling around up there?

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will look for their next target, say the Mark Twain House in Hartford,

Maybe my history is a little fuzzy, but I have no particularly awareness of Mark Twain taking up arms against my country or killing any of my fellow countrymen.

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the best of arguments. Have you ever read A Private History of a Campaign That Failed?

Don't get me wrong, the rabbit's argument is moronic, but there's no need to attribute to Twain a righteousness he did not claim. He knew quite well how easy it is to delude yourself into believing in a wicked cause. He had done it himself.

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This isn't just about the soldiers on the monument. This is about the UDC, who has perpetuated the cause of the Confederacy rather than allow the wounds of war to heal since it's inception.

The UDC and other similar groups have frequently located monuments to the South in southern towns that were neutral or Union aligned for the express purposely of reshaping history. Over time, memories fade, and residents of those towns came to believe their town was South aligned.

A good book called "Lies Across America" looks at countless examples of this kind of thing, and at the power of monuments to shape history in general.

Somewhat telling of underlying motives: most UDC monuments were placed in the 1920s and the 1960s, two of the worst eras for race relations in the US.

I actually agree that the story of the fallen soldiers deserves to be told with respect and in the context of events far beyond them. But the UDC's manipulation of history perverts their story in the name of what is truly a "lost cause".

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Thank you for the book suggestion! I am eager to read it, and I think it will bring a lot of brevity to this conversation.

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Why not leave it alone, but put another memorial right next to it for context? One dedicated to the 1483 (http://www.massachusettscivilwar.com/statistics.asp) Massachusetts natives who died in Confederate Prisoner of War camps.

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In what way would this give the context of the DOC attempting to glorify a mythical Southern past at a time when the South was pushing back hard against African-American civil rights?

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It is one thing to tear down the statues of slave masters and traitors it is another thing to cover up memorials to the dead. Lechmere station is named after a slave master as is Fanueil Hall where is the outrage.

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. Lechmere station is named after a slave master as is Fanueil Hall where is the outrage.

Lechmere and Faneuil were not traitors who took up arms against the nation.

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They're not twice removed from a rebellion and the people that named these places were not openly trying to rewrite history to put a spin on their ownership of slaves or rebellion against their country in the name of slavery.

This isn't hard people. It's not about payback for slavery, and it's not about people owning slaves.

It's about what the DOC was very specifically trying to do. And judging by this thread, was pretty successful doing.

You guys like being played for fools? Because the DOC has your ticket.

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Who all has even been to George's Island? School field trips don't count.

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though I never noticed the Confederate POW monument during any of my visits. I don't think it is in a prominent location.

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I go regularly.

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Before calling them traitors, I'd want to know how many of the 13 were conscripts.

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The Daughters of Confederacy weren't celebrating their lives or memorializing their deaths - they were using these monuments to perpetuate propaganda and make sure those people they felt that they should still own didn't get ideas about being more uppity than they were being with all that "there's violence on both sides" civil rights stuff.

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Clicking agree is not enough.

These poor guys were not pro-slavery ideologues, they were most likely just poor farmers who left their families to fight with their neighbors. Removing this small monument to a dozen men who died only sends the message that their lives didn't matter. They were humans who died, it's appropriate to acknowledge that they existed and that they died.

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And no one is trying to erase these people. But the united daughters of the confederacy placed this marker to erase to war against slavery.

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What about the numerous statues of Vlad Lenin currently erected in NYC, Seattle and LA? His history of involvement in political repression/mass killings is well known. Why should he be honored? Should "honored" with statues? I wonder if any of those Antifa folks wanna tear his statue down...

I have no problem with removing memorials/statues of confederate soldiers etc but where does it stop? Its a slippery slope if people just start running around destroying things them deem offensive; is a dangerous precedent. Where will it stop?

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