Editorial: Clyde’s far-sighted gift of history

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A thoughtful gift to Rowan Museum brings to mind the words of William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Local artist Clyde has given the museum the property he owned on East Bank Street, in the vicinity of what was once the Salisbury Confederate Prison. The land includes the only remaining structure related to the prison, its guard house.

If the dreams Clyde and the Rowan Museum share are realized, these buildings will help tell the story of the Civil War prison and Salisbury’s role in the war. Thousands died of disease and starvation behind the stockade, a painful truth some might wish to forget. What’s past is past. The consequences of war never stop playing out, though, and fully understanding what happened at the the Salisbury Confederate Prison is a necessary part of the Civil War story — one of many.

Clyde has parlayed his artistic talents and business dealings into a pivotal piece of old Salisbury real estate. Giving this property to the museum is a generous and far-sighted act. It could help Salisbury preserve and share a key element of Civil War history. Clyde’s gift will be with us for a long time, keeping the past alive.