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COLUMN — Statue must never return

Removal of Confederate statues represents the ongoing fall of America’s “Berlin Wall” of segregation following the abolition of slavery. That is why the statue celebrating Confederate soldiers removed from its High Street pedestal must never return.

Ken Woodley

Those who mistakenly believe that statues of Confederate generals, soldiers or politicians have nothing to do with slavery, and are only about history, forget that the history those statues represent is this: Those generals and soldiers and politicians fought a war against the United States of America. Had they won, their victory would have perpetuated slavery.

There is no debating that historical fact. The statues are all about slavery. Beyond slavery, those statues have also represented America’s “Berlin Wall” of segregation that separated African Americans, and other people of color, from equal justice and opportunity in every aspect of life.

Everyone is free to have their own idols and erect statues to them, of course. But idols to the Confederacy have no place in our society, except in a museum where their meaning can be placed in full context.

I cheer Town Council’s decision to remove the statue, a unanimous vote made by the democratically elected representatives of all town residents.

Democracy had nothing at all to do with the statue’s placement on its pedestal by Confederate Veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy in 1900 because African Americans living in Farmville had no voice at all in that idolizing decision.

Those statues never should have been erected in the first place. Thank God the Confederate statue in Farmville will no longer look down on the Heart of Virginia from its former position of eminence.

But this is not the end of the story. Confederate statues are coming down, but America’s “Berlin Wall” still exists in so many ways for African Americans and other people of color in our nation.

We need to join hands and bring all of it down.

KEN WOODLEY was the editor of The Farmville Herald from 1991-2015.