Stop Honoring Confederate Heroes by Diane Ravitch

Today is Juneteenth, a day that marks the end of slavery. Juneteenth is the day in 1865 when black people in Texas finally got the news that slavery had been abolished. There is currently a movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Many large corporations already recognize its importance.

Now, as the nation is rocked by demonstrations and protests against racism, is a good time to stop honoring Confederate heroes.

Education Week conducted a survey and identified some 174 schools, all in the south, that honor southern heroes, mainly Robert E. Lee. Let’s face it. The leaders of the insurrection were traitors to the United States. Their “sacred cause” was white supremacy. The war they fought to secede cost more than 600,000 lives.

Alan Singer says it’s past time to remove all the statues and memorials honoring Robert E. Lee, who violated his oath to serve his country and waged war against it.

Growing up in Houston, I attended Albert Sidney Johnston Junior High School, named for a Confederate General, the first of his rank to die in the Civil War. I didn’t know anything about him as a student, although everyone memorized the school marching song that honored his name (he died in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862).The school’s name was changed only four years ago, along with those of other schools in Houston named for heroes of the Confederacy.

Recently, the leaders of the military proposed renaming military bases that bear the names of Confederate generals. Trump flatly rejected the proposal, claiming that it would dishonor the military. Strange words from a man who ridiculed Senator John McCain because he was captured in Vietnam. Why praise generals who lost a disastrous rebellion while demeaning a war hero who refused the opportunity to be freed until the other American captives imprisoned with him were released?

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