Letter: Proposed contextualization is intentionally misleading
Gregory C. White
St Augustine, FL
Dear Historic City News editor:
How does a simple monument erected with private funds raised by the citizens of St. Augustine to memorialize its local dead just a few years after the bloodiest war in American history, have to do with white supremacy? It doesn’t!
Will the fort and all buildings and homes erected with slave labor require “contextualization”?
“The obelisk honors local loved ones who gave up their lives in service of the Confederate states. Yet in all these Confederate state constitutions, black people were legally regarded as human property. This memorial is a reminder of the diverse legacies of the Civil War.”
This proposed interpretation is intentionally misleading. There were four Union states under President Abraham Lincoln – Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Maryland that continued to legally practice slavery during the Civil War. West Virginia was created and admitted to the Union on June 22, 1863, as a SLAVE state, nearly 6 months after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Delaware was the last state to legally free its slaves, in December 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified forever abolishing slavery, and 8 months following the capitulation of Confederate forces.
Do you really believe this exercise will appease the fringe minority of professional protesters that want to sanitize our rich, diverse history? If a private group wishes to fund and erect a monument bearing the names of Black St. Augustine citizens that served in the Union forces, find them an appropriate location.
As a direct descendant of some of St. Augustine’s oldest families – Papy, Pons, Usina and Oliveros, I implore you to leave our history alone!