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Letter: Why the reluctance to separate from the Confederacy?

In 2012, I left Philadelphia following my residency training and have since been practicing medicine in Salisbury.

To be honest, I had reservations about moving down south. My black skin is noticeably different than most other doctors’ and, early in my tenure, a patient pulled a nurse aside and said, “I can’t believe you have a black doctor working here.” It was an inauspicious start, but I can tell you that I’ve experienced minimal overt racism.

I have found the people of Salisbury to be decent, tolerant and God-fearing, which renders the city’s commitment to relics of the Confederacy paradoxical.

Make no mistake, the Confederacy is marred in abhorrent racism. How could you argue otherwise when Alexander H. Stephens, the vice president of the Confederate States, was quoted as saying, “(The Confederacy’s) foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition?”

I ask you, Salisbury, why the reluctance to separate yourselves from such ungodly people with such ungodly philosophies? Why the persistence to impugn my dignity with each pass by the monument “Fame” and each drive down Confederate Avenue.

Is your intent to mock me or my 8-year-old son? Is your intent to remind me of the horrific stories my grandfather from Opelika, Alabama, would tell me during my childhood about segregation? I ask you, Salisbury, if you’re keen on preserving the Confederate history, where is your celebration of the slave, whose resolve and endurance is a reflection of my mere existence?

I implore the city of Salisbury to make obsolete these racist and archaic artifacts and to be consistent with the tolerant society that you strive to be.

— Aerik Williams

Salisbury

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