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Letter: Some facts behind ‘Fame’ monument

I am compelled to speak regarding “Fame”.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Previous writers published in the Post either extremely naive or maliciously ignorant.

I’m encouraged that a discussion is sought. The question is an embedded study of racism or a deliberative study of racism. However, white privilege does not allow you to frame that discussion.

Let’s start with some facts.

First, in Salisbury one-third of the households in 1860 owned slaves. They were predominantly doctors, lawyers, bankers and merchants. The “Lost Cause” movement ushered in an unprecedented era of terrorism by the KKK and dis-information by its propaganda arm, the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Rowan County was an active lynching county in North Carolina, with seven reported incidents. Selected in 1901 and dedicated in 1909 “Fame” would culminate with this area being referred to as Klansville.

Second, in their own word’s, state secession ordinances, southern politicians, newspapers and personal correspondences made it known the prevailing view was about the right to own slaves.

“Fame” buttressed the rise of Jim Crow, which was “Slavery by Another Name.” The black codes established prison labor, exploitive sharecropping and disenfranchisement of former slaves as the model for the new south.

This re-branding effort was highly effective — the myth of the South as oppressed and fighting a noble cause coupled with the content happy slave. The false treat of an amalgamated white race and incompetent governance were primary themes.

The zenith was President Woodrow Wilson viewing “Birth of a Nation” in the White House.

Any discussion about “Fame” must include a serious discourse on racial inequity.

The wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth is due in large part to the “peculiar institution.” This is the context for “Fame.”

— Michael Stringer

Cleveland

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