Protesters tore down a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., last night.
While I understand the sentiment, I believe legal means are a better course for dealing with government-sponsored displays in support of reprehensible ideas and people. See New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s careful and successful campaign against racist symbolism in New Orleans (make no mistake, that’s what the symbols were about as he so eloquently wrote.)
So far, the temperature has been cool about the various Confederate memorials around Arkansas. They include two on the Capitol lawn and many are linked not strictly to history but more to the rise of Confederate idolatry in the 20th century as a protest against equal rights for black people. The Lee Holiday is the most famous example.
Ozark Indivisible has encouraged a social media campaign directed at Walmart over the Confederate statue across from the Walmart museum on Bentonville’s town square, a part of Arkansas known back in the day for its Union support but now Trump country.
An online petition campaign urges removal of the statue to a more “appropriate” location, such as the Pea Ridge National Military Park.
I also got a note last night asking why no talk of Forrest City?
It was named after the Civil War for a railroad man who’d built a commissary in what was then known as Izardville . It was later renamed for him. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general whose wartime activities included involvement in a massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow following a Union surrender and who was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Memphis has been in a long battle over removing the Forrest statue in a park there. But his name quietly presides over a city now majority black in Arkansas, also the site of some famous racial episodes over the years, as the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History details.