The violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia began as a protest against plans to remove a Confederate statue from a city park. Since then, the more than 700 statues honoring the Confederacy have become the latest in a series of race-related flashpoints in the Trump administration.
After the neo-Nazi riot, many communities opted to quietly remove their monuments – from large cities like Baltimore to small towns like Franklin, Ohio. The mayor of Lexington, Kentucky announced his city’s would soon come down, while protesters in Durham, North Carolina toppled one all on their own. Many other cities are debating or taking action to remove Confederate statutes, but there’s also been a big backlash from monument supporters.
In short, there’s a divide between those who think our violent history should be preserved – and celebrated – and those who think we should seriously reckon with it. In this way, it’s not just about the statues – it’s about what they represent for our country’s efforts to confront its legacy of genocide and slavery.