Stephen Douglas played a major role in state history, portrait should remain
Removing portraits and statues of Stephen Douglas of Illinois is an overreaction to a genuine concern about confronting the virus of racism in our past.
There is a great difference between those who founded and led this country, including slaveholders up until the Civil War, and those Confederates who rebelled and fought against this country.
We cannot erase Douglas’ place in our history by covering or removing his portrait. As noted in a Sun-Times story, the base of his statue is engraved with his “dying message to his children, ‘. . . to obey the laws and support the Constitution of the United States.’ ” It is for us, today, to clarify, explain, celebrate and question with integrity the entire record of this major figure in our state’s narrative.
Our recognition that “Black lives matter” ought not require erasing a piece of the American story that makes us uncomfortable. Let’s not be distracted from confronting the virus of racism in our present time, in our culture, our institutions, and whatever yet lingers in our own hearts. Rev. Martin Deppe, Ravenswood Manor