From: “Tricia Warren” [email@example.com]
Date: Aug 23, 2018
To: “HK Edgerton” [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Dear Mr. Edgerton,
Thank you so much for having the courage to take up for us–by us, I mean Southerners of all races. For some reason, Northerners seem to think that white Southerners are against the Civil Rights movement if they don’t want to denigrate their ancestors when it’s become fashionable to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet it’s hard to explain all this without sounding like some apologist for bigotry, which one obviously doesn’t want to be. As a white Southerner, I was brought up to revere brave people like Hodding Carter in Mississippi and Myles Horton in Tennessee, who admittedly weren’t as heroic as the people around MLK, but they were very brave. Still, my father, who was a veteran in two wars and went to West Point, also admired Lee, maybe because he had an irresponsible father like my father had and gave my father courage or something. It had nothing to do with “white supremacy!”
Although my father died when he was 61, my mother is 92 and I think all this statue violence upsets her because she gave much of her life to being an Army wife, and always taught us to love the South but not love bigotry. She is not remotely the cartoonish figure people are making Southerners out to be. Yet our ancestors are being humiliated, which will lead to discrimination in the present day, in my view. I can already see it affecting my 17-year-old son’s view of the world.
While I have some cousins in New Orleans who were in favor of removing the statues (they always believe in the most au courant ideas), I admit that it makes me sad. This may be because of my difference in background; for years I lived in DC, in the nineties and again after 2000 for several years, and worked as a lawyer part-time in a homeless clinic there. What people told me about moving up from the South was that it hadn’t always turned out as rosy as they’d been led to believe it might be. The “assistance” they were given was often psychiatric drugs or housing in horrific neighborhoods; all of which convinced me that the South does have a few cultural advantages over the north–just the concept of unselfishness, and people looking out for others. (But I don’t in any way mean to minimize what black people experienced in the South in the past, and in a different way in the North–at all.)
Sorry to go on: I’m just explaining why I was so touched, and grateful, watching your UNC remarks, especially (as I live in Atlanta) your remarks about Sherman, who of course kept murdering people (Native Americans) and buffalo too, I believe, even after the war was over.