It appears that national soul searching is over, following the violence caused by White supremacist in Charlottesville over plans to remove a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
ABC News reports that new memorials to the Confederacy are being erected despite the controversy.
The people behind these new projects are downplaying the racist history that these monuments represent while defending Southern White history.
“What I want to get across is how much the South suffered, not only through the war but after the war, during the Reconstruction years,” David Coggins, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member, told the Associated Press.
AL.com reported that more than 200 people attend an unveiling ceremony in Brantley, Alabama for the stone marker erected by Coggins’ group, which honors the “unknown Confederate soldiers” who died in the Civil War. The memorial stands on private property in a Confederate memorial park that opened in 2015.
Danny Francis, commander of a Sons of Confederate Veterans unit in South Carolina, wants people to believe that this new wave of Confederate memorials is innocuous. His organization also erected a granite monument on private land.
“The problem was with some of the other statues that were put up, that were basically intended to intimidate people,” he told The AP. “We’re not trying to oppress anyone—we’re just historians. We welcome everybody.”
However, Benard Simelton, president of the NAACP’s Alabama conference, told The AP that these new Confederate memorials are no different from the one’s erected decades ago, calling the new memorials “a continuous slap in the face.”
“These Confederate generals and soldiers committed acts of treason. They fought against the Union, but ‘for’ slavery. The Confederacy fought to maintain the status quo of slavery and White supremacy,” he added.
USA Today reported that there are at least 700 Confederate monuments located in 31 states. Most of them are clustered in the former Confederate states, but others are also in Union states and territories that became states after the Civil War.