Much like the rest of the country, Helena, Montana was quick to respond to the national uproar addressing the memorializing and preservation of confederate monuments and other landmarks that commemorate the ideas behind what people have narrowed down to Racism or racist though.
I wanted to get a picture of the landmark before it was torn out as a documentation of history, but the city was too quick to follow through with their promise. See the original article here: http://helenair.com/news/local/city-of-helena-to-remove-confederate-fountain/article_606b058a-4e09-5802-a7b8-dc07f2b0a27e.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share
Now this is what is left:
Whether the city plans to replace the monument with a new landmark, I have yet to hear and have not taken the time to inquire, but I would think something in memory of why this was changed would be a good artistic approach. Rather than reflecting on hate and tragedy, acknowledge what good might come from removing this place setting.
My opinion, the civil war was about many things. Though racists participated in battling against their opposition, the purpose of that war had nothing to do with freeing slaves or independence from discrimination and freedom from hate. Promising freedom was just a bonus for extra bodies. Black men and women were treated worse in the North than they were in the south in some cases and suffered just as much after the North won the war because they had to find paying jobs in an overflowed market that despised them for their circumstance.
Racists still participate in battles now. Focus on their hate towards who they’re attacking is ignored, because rather than those people being our neighbor, they’re overseas. What will you do to the monuments that remember the longest war in history? How will we memorialize what has yet to truly end.
How do we remember our history in order to learn from our mistakes when people that can’t stand to look at them erase what’s passed? I would appreciate these things in a museum, where they can be acknowledged properly and considered. Invaders all over the world wiped out various cultures, history, documentation and identities by erasing what exists to pass on those stories. Private collectors covet them while they’re being removed from the sight of common man. Much like book burnings, I don’t approve… but I’m just one person and that’s my opinion.
I am a minority. I am a first generation. I have a respect for history and use it to remain vigilant. I pray that with all of this anger and hasty action people do not forget why they’ve made the choices they have when generations look back at this time (if they even have any real record of it to look back on to).