Confederate monuments reflected 'false history,' removal 'long time coming,' UNC professor says
Jim LeLoudis, a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill and co-chair of the university's Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward, discusses the recent removal of Confederate statues in Raleigh and the elimination of names linked to white supremacy from area buildings.
First, it was the statue in downtown Raleigh. Then it was the renaming of a rally middle school. Now it's a building on the campus of NC State. Our news cameras were the only ones rolling this morning on States campus as crews removed this sign from Daniel's Hall. The building, like many others in Raleigh, was named after the former editor of the Interno, who is known for using his influence to push his views of white supremacy. His family says removing this legacy is the right thing to do. We saw this happen in less than a week's time. Joining us now to talk about this is Jim Deluded is a history professor at You know, Jim, I missed. I've been working in your name all day and I just mispronounce it. I think Jim let Lutece. I know a lot of people are watching. That is a history professor at Carolina also chairs the university's Commission on History, race and a way forward. Professor, Thanks for talking with us tonight. Delighted to be here. Thank you. We have seen so many changes just over the past week or 10 days. Are you surprised? Although it took us a long time to get here. The speed in which so many things have happened It is remarkable how quickly things have have developed in the number of monuments and names that have come down. I think you're worried. One of those points in history where suddenly the friction that holds change back sort of breaks loose. And historians will be writing about this in the future. But, you know, I think some of the explanation is obvious in the ways that recovered 19 Pandemic and the killings of Rianna Taylor and Amit R. Burrage was Floyd and and others whose names we never know has laid bare the inequities and injustices that we all You were there. But I brought them home to us with a new immediacy. You know, any time we go through significant change, there are critics. What do you say to the critics tonight? You know, I mean, I understand that this is ah, deeply polarized issue. But, um, you know, what I would say is that this change has been a long time coming, and it really is overdue. The monuments on the Capitol grounds and Raleigh and elsewhere around this state and region they have stood for more than a century is signals to what I think we have to describe is A is a false history, and we can talk a little bit more about that. But of votes history that over the last more than a century has has divided us, is polarised us and has visited incalculable pain on generations of people of color in this state throughout the South and impact across the nation. So I presume when you say false history, you are saying the majority was able to write the history the way they wanted it, no matter what the facts were. It's an extraordinary example. I actually don't know of anything quite like it anywhere else in the world where those who lost the war, I ended up winning the battle for historical memory. I think it's important to recognize there were actually two waves of Confederate memorial ization. The first began very soon after the war and stretched into the 18 eighties, and if you look at the monuments that went up at that time, almost every one of them is into graveyards in a cemetery. Their expressions of grief and mourning of that loss that is still very raw and powerful for people. The monuments on the Capitol grounds and other soldier monuments around the state went up in the second way, which began in the 18 nineties and then stretched into the 20th century through the teens and into the 19 twenties. And they were part of an effort led by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and others really to turn history on its head to deny the slavery was a proximate cause of the Civil War and present as patriots man who had taken up arms against the United States to maintain the subject Gatien of more than four million black Children and women and men. I would love to come and sit in your class sometime. You've got a major event coming up later this week with you and see Grad in 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Nicole Hannah Jones. Tell us about that. Well, I tell you, I'm really looking forward to that. I have great admiration for her work and was delighted to see that she won the Pulitzer for the 16 19 project, which was an effort, really, to sort of bring to a general public work that you know, those of us in the field have known about for a while the work that Reese enters the story of racial slavery in the story of the United States meeting. In a nutshell. I think most of us learned in school that racial slavery was the great exception to the American experiment in democracy. On that, you know, we got it right After a while. I think it's a Civil War. But finally, you know, we got right well with 16 19 project reminds us and challenges this to understand is the way that the institution of racial slavery was actually very much at the center of the American story from from the very beginning. Well, and you know, you mentioned 16 19 and that incredible project with The New York Times is it's obviously going to be an amazing discussion when you have her there. Professor Jim Lewis, the History Department UNC Chapel Hill Thanks for your time tonight, and your insight next to their plenty of resource is for those wanting to learn more about Confederate memory, memorialization and how it has changed over the years. Silent Sam Online. We have the information on your screen