Her­itage we shouldn’t celebrate

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

I read, with in­ter­est, the June 30 front-page ar­ti­cle “For next gen­er­a­tion, a new Thur­mond legacy,” on Paul Thur­mond’s ac­cep­tance of the need to take down the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag near the South Carolina capi­tol. He feels this way de­spite his Con­fed­er­ate her­itage through his great-grand­fa­ther, who was with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

That re­la­tion­ship would also ap­ply the same her­itage to his de­ceased half sis­ter, an African Amer­i­can named Essie Mae Washington-Wil­liams. I won­der what Ms. Washington-Wil­liams thought of that her­itage. Would it have made her proud? Ready to join the United Daugh­ters of the Con­fed­er­acy (although she likely would not be ad­mit­ted de­spite a di­rect fam­ily link)? Anx­ious to dis­play the Con­fed­er­ate flag on a li­cense plate or fly it at her­home? Highly un­likely on all counts.

Her re­ac­tion would prob­a­bly echo Mr. Thur­mond’s as­ser­tion that “I will never un­der­stand how any­one could fight a civil war based in part on the de­sire to con­tinue the prac­tice of slav­ery.” Any rea­son­able per­son knows that the war was based en­tirely on con­tin­u­ing the prac­tice of slav­ery.

I, along with other African Amer­i­cans who share sim­i­lar an­ces­try, see no pos­i­tives as­so­ci­ated with that South­ern her­itage. That should be the case for all Amer­i­cans. Af­ter all, Ger­mans gen­er­ally don’t celebrate Nazi mil­i­tary her­itage. Why should Amer­i­cans celebrate South­ern Con­fed­er­ate her­itage?

El­bert Marsh, Sil­ver Spring

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