Brian Chilson
REMOVED IN 2020: The Confederate statue in MacArthur Park.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has updated its report on tributes to the Confederacy and its battle to preserve slavery.

The full report is here, including a listing of the 57 tributes to the fight for slavery in Arkansas.

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An Associated Press summary says at least 160 Confederate symbols were removed in 2020, but 704 are still standing. Arkansas, which had split allegiances in the war, is not among the top 10 states with memorials. It saw the removal of at least three tributes in the last year — a statue and marker in Little Rock and a statue in the Bentonville town square. See Page 20 of the SPLC report for the full Arkansas list of tributes in the naming of schools, cities and a county and the various statuary.

Beauregard, Claiborne and Longstreet are streets mentioned in Little Rock, but note: Longstreet, though a successful Confederate general, became known as a scalawag, a Southerner who worked in support of rights for Black people following the Civil War as a supporter in Louisiana of U.S. Grant.  He also led African-American militia in a battle against anti-reconstructionists, so maybe he deserves special consideration. Longstreet, Beauregard and Pickett are short streets in the Hermitage neighborhood (Plantation is another street name there) east of the Clinton National Airport.

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As many others have said, you do not cancel history by removing tributes to traitors and slavery defenders from public places. The history is not even past as the legislature so regularly illustrates. Removal of monuments to slavery defenders at the Capitol? Still there. Still an affront to every descendant of slaves who must do the public’s business there.

Of many ironies, the greatest has to be Lee County. Its population is majority Black, but it is named for a traitor in the name of slavery defense, a cruel slave owner and a man who made clear after the Civil War that he didn’t believe Black Americans were fit to vote or be more than menial laborers.

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