Letter: Solution to ‘Fame’ controversy waiting in Alabama

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2019

What would a reconciling a community look like? Could Salisbury Rowan be that community?

We are in the midst of deep controversy over the Confederate statue.

There is division because of our different interpretations or understanding of the symbolism of the statue. Mayor Al Heggins is seeking to give voice to all sides while emphasizing the need to “establish factual context.”

One of the options being discussed is leaving the statue in place while expanding on the context of the period in history in which it was erected.

In Montgomery, Alabama, at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice — commonly known as the “lynching museum” — there awaits a monument inscribed with the names of six persons lynched in Rowan County.

This monument is identical to the one hanging inside the museum along with 800 others. It is waiting to be claimed and installed in the county it represents.

Rowan County’s monument could be installed on the opposite end of the median from the Confederate monument.

Contextual information could accompany the monument, giving historical facts of the period of history when the Confederate statue was erected. This was a time when the black community was openly terrorized, abused and denied justice, known as Jim Crow.

The idea of the lynching memorial hanging opposite the Confederate monument may be shocking to those who revere the Confederacy. This ugly part of our history has never been fully told or understood by the dominate white society.

But Reconciliation requires painful acknowledgment of wrongs. It requires truth telling, is messy and takes time.

Are we willing to have those kinds of discussions and to take actions that lead to reconciliation?

We could begin by placing the lynching memorial in a prominent place for all to see that we are a community seeking truth. We are a community seeking healing. We are a community of hope. We are a community seeking equity for all.

— Betty Jo Hardy