Your headline writer keeps making a common mistake. No one is discussing “Confederate-era monuments.” The markers in question are Jim Crow-era monuments to the Lost Cause narrative of the Civil War; it is a narrative of the past which was dependent upon and celebrated white supremacy.
The vast majority of monuments to the Confederacy were put up between 1890 and 1930. They were meant to be, at least in part, a celebration of the reassertion of white control of Southern politics and disenfranchisement of African Americans. In many ways Confederate monuments were celebrating the overturning of the war’s consequences.
Each community will ultimately have to decide what to do with their monuments. No matter what Charleston decides to do with its Jim Crow-era monuments, we should make sure we are accurate in our deliberations.
Department of History
College of Charleston