tv Washington Journal Al Brophy on Efforts To Take Down Confederate Statues CSPAN August 22, 2017 3:51pm-4:01pm EDT
it live. coming up in 10 minutes on c-span, the thomas b ford institute -- fordham institute will host a discussion on alternative to traditional high schools. we will have it live on c-span. right now, a conversation from this morning's washington journal. us to continue our conversation on confederate monuments is a professor from the university of alabama school of law. a recent piece of his has the title "why the case for the removal of confederate monuments is not so clear-cut." can you tell us why, professor? guest: i think the monuments are largely relics of the battle days. i think it is important to leave them up so that we understand and remember that there were once people who were in charge in places like charlottesville,
richmond, virginia, and sounds throughout the south and some in the north, that wanted to celebrate the confederacy and the war that was fought to maintain slavery. aside from far as, leaving them up, what do you think about what is currently going on with the dismantling of statues and what do you think the proper role of them should be when they come down? should they be placed in a museum, what is the best way to approach it? guest: a lot of great questions there. one thing that really interests me about the last couple of weeks and really going back to may when the monuments came down in new orleans, is how quickly public opinion has changed from this? those monuments have been up in many cases for about 100 years or close to that, and there was not a lot of agitation to move them down. then we saw how quickly public attitudes have changed and i think it is in some ways testimony to the idea that there
is nothing so powerless as an idea whose time has passed. so you know, there is public attitudes towards the confederacy in the monuments that has changed dramatically and it is shocking how much change there has been since the tragedy in charlottesville. um, so i completely understand the ideas, i thought mr. spence did a phenomenal job of making the case for taking them down and i understand many people see them as relics or vestiges of white supremacy. i think there is, i recognize those values. balance things a little bit differently and i think it is important to preserve those monuments on the landscape so that people remember that there was once a celebration of the confederacy and the war fought to maintain slavery. and look at the conversations we
are having now about what the civil war was about. why people were celebrating and putting these monuments up. that is a great conversation, i think it is a great opportunity for learning, for national discussion. i think the conversation largely goes away once you take the monuments down. host: how do you -- go ahead. guest: go on. host: no, go ahead. guest: it appears very likely that the monuments keep coming down, i suspect they will be falling all over the country very very soon. um, then there is the question of, what do you do with them and what do you do with the space where the monuments once were? i have an op-ed in the winston-salem journal this morning with an artist that suggests maybe we should put more humane statues in their place. something that celebrates the value other than war. then what do you do with those statues when you have taken them down? i am against taking them down, i
think we need to contextualize them more. but if you do take them down, i think they should be preserved somewhere so that we can preserve as much of the memory that there was during the dark years of jim crow segregation that people throughout the statues tocted confederate war heroes. host: what is the best way to conceptualize -- contextualize them if they do stay up? guest: there are a couple of things we can do, there was in maryland -- in the early 20 century, a statue to the confederate soldiers. opposite on the courthouse lawn is a statue of frederick douglass, the great abolitionist from talbot county. i think that is exactly what we want to do, create a dialogue, have people going there and saying, douglas and the monuments to the soldiers are in a dialogue.
that is perfect, brilliant idea. i think it is counter monuments right behind the jefferson davis monument on monument avenue, that is a counter monument, the word love. i think these kind of counter monuments invite discussion. obviously there needs to be text associated with the monuments, the jefferson davis monuments in -- on monument avenue in richmond, virginia i think literally makes no reference to slavery. it talks about him as the defender of the rights of states. it in races the idea of -- erases the idea of slavery and slavery as part of the civil war. we say, when this was put up, right at the turn of the 20th century, slavery was being erased from the memory of the civil war and now we know more, so that is the kind of contextualization that invites
ongoing discussion. not just yes or no, on or off decision to remove the statue. can call the republican line, democrat line. our guest of professor at the university of alabama school of law, he has written books reconstructing the race riot of 1921 and. michael, good morning. up first on the independent line. caller: i agree with the professor that they should be a contextual issue, but that is the point. this problem, the reason that somebody people voted for donald trump, including myself was the yact that i grew up -- m working career more properly, with affirmative action. and i had to pay a price to give
reparations to people that were suffering under jim crow and the slavery legacy and so forth and so on. that is why, if you want to solve this problem you need to focus on the fact that when we go to correct some kind of ill of the past in this country, we never do it fairly. i would have been happy if they would have tracked down the southern slaveowners and made their family pay for what they did and the prophets they made, they- profits, the made. but no, they came after me and my family. and we do not own slaves. we fought to free them. so that is why this should contain references to the fact that we grew up time and -- screw up time and time again we try to correct ills of the past.
host: let's let the guests respond. guest: i would like to come back and talk about the case for reparations for slavery and more importantly jim crow and affirmative action, that seems like almost a conversation that we have to have some other time. if you are thinking about monuments, one thing that i think the caller, you know, thoughtfully inappropriately raised his what is the contextualization look like. i think he probably has a sense of how the monuments could be conceptualized is different from mine. i would like to see the