Friday, August 25, 2017

A Small Town in Virginia Has a Robert E. Lee High School Because of Bigotry and Prejudice

No History or Heritage Involved – Just Plain Racism

As the debate goes forth on honoring the men who fought the destroy the United States and retain slavery it is always helpful to look at the facts.  In the Shenandoah Valley the town of Staunton, Virginia has a high school that in 1914 was renamed from Staunton High to Robert E. Lee High.  Here’s how that came about.

A post card depicting the original Robert E. Lee High School and Lewis and Baldwin streets in Staunton. Although the school, which previously had been known as Staunton High School, was renamed with the Lee name in 1914, the new name wasn't commonly used until it had been in place about a decade.(Photo: Courtesy Charles Culbertson)

T]he all-white and all-male Staunton City School Board discussed correspondence they received from the local branch of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. According to the minutes, the J.E.B. Stuart chapter, asked “that the school buildings be named after our great Southern Heroes - Jackson and Lee.” The Board acted quickly. After a short discussion, they authorized that the high school be named Robert E. Lee and the Main Street (now West Beverley) school to be called Stonewall Jackson School.”

As for the UDC, here is what they believed.

Mildred “Miss Millie” Rutherford, the longtime historian of the UDC, perhaps best articulated these beliefs [of the Lost Cause]. She argued adamantly that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, but rather it was states’ rights as well as the North’s envy of the idyllic and prosperous South. She protested that “Jealousy was the real cause that led to the war.” In her view, the misunderstood and benevolent system of slavery had been maligned, and the South, in fact, had not rebelled against the United States. Rather, she insisted that “the South never violated the Constitution...The Constitution was violated by the North.”

So yes, that is what the naming of the high school celebrates, a belief that slavery was ‘benevolent’ and that the North was the aggressor in the Civil War.  That is what Nazis and the KKK and the White Supremacists are marching for, to preserve that version of history.

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