In order to understand the pathology of memorializing treasonous Confederates, look to the Hayes-Tilden Compromise (1876-77), which in effect ended the Reconstruction years (1865-1877), when Black people made tremendous strides, politically, economically, and socially, a mere 12 years after 246 years of indentured servitude and slavery, since Africans landed in Jamestown Virginia in 1619, or as Malcolm X quipped, the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on Black people.
The Hayes-Tilden Compromise was just one more obstacle, or rock, placed in front of Black people and Black progress. It was just one more of many compromises of Black rights in American history. And when we look at the zealous defense of these Confederate memorials, monuments and statues, even by the person currently occupying the White House because of a skewed electoral system, we get a clear picture into America’s heart of whiteness. In part, this rapprochement with the treasonous former Confederate States of America was a nod to white harmony and hegemony. What other explanation is there? Never in the history of warfare, specifically a Civil War, did the losers get to erect memorials, monuments and statues, thus reestablishing an unchecked reign of terror against the very subjects at the center of the war.
“War is hell,” Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman said. He added, “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. Those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.” He was referring to the Confederacy. Instead, more than 150 years after the end of the American Civil War, we are still fighting this War against Confederate memorials, monuments and statues because of the Hayes-Tilden Compromise, instead of the “total war” advocated by General Sherman.