Letters to the Editor: September 7 – 13, 2017
Lee Was a Traitor & Racist, He Was Not a Gentleman
Last week, Joe Dunn’s letter to the editor stated “I do not know of anyone who ever thought of Robert E. Lee as anything other than a gentleman” and that “Robert E. Lee did not fight for slavery, he fought for Virginia.” According to archival history, Robert E. Lee did fight for slavery. Lee was a racist and a traitor. In his plea with General Grant and request for a prisoner of war exchange, he refused to exchange black union soldiers for white confederate prisoners. Additionally, after Lee and Stonewall Jackson’s failed attempt to enter Maryland, and take Washington, D.C., Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The south reacted with fury against blacks. Lee was in full support that slavery be preserved and that all captured Union black soldiers that were former slaves be tried and murdered. The law covering these offenses stated “that the Confederates should commit full and ample retaliation” against such persons.
Confederate hatred for black troops spilled over, Confederate troops shot down black troops rather than accept their surrender. In the two most fully-recorded cases —Poison Springs, Arkansas and Fort Pillow, Tennessee — several hundred blacks were slaughtered after throwing down their arms; many instances of killing of smaller groups. As for Lee’s army, recent scholars have described the massacre of black troops attempting to surrender at the battle of the Crater, on July 30, 1864.
While Dunn and other strutting minstrels refuse to accept the wrongness and the inhuman brutality and consequences of slavery, they support mobs of torch waving Nazis and white supremacist to run through our prestigious University Of Virginia, with torches at night, terrorizing the innocent.
Carter, Not Lee, Is a Virginian to Be Proud Of
In his letter in the August 31 News-Press, Joe Dunn writes “I do not know of anyone who ever thought of Robert E. Lee as anything other than a gentleman.” When Lee took over the running of the Custis plantation of Arlington in the 1850s, to make money he began breaking up slave families on the plantation and hiring off their members to work on different plantations and farther south, something his father-in-law G.W.P. Custis had never done. He engaged in dubious legal proceedings to hold on to slaves to whom Custis had promised their freedom. When three of the slaves tried to escape, he personally supervised their punishment by whipping, fifty lashes for the men and twenty for a woman, urging the agent doing the whipping to “lay it on well,” and then ordered the overseer to wash the slaves’ lacerated backs in brine.
This was the conduct of a man who acquiesced in a vicious, inhuman institution. Mr. Dunn and others should read up on the history of Robert Carter III, scion of one of Virginia’s wealthiest families, who freed his slaves and campaigned for emancipation as early as the 1790s. There’s a Virginia gentleman to be proud of.
John F. McDiarmid
We Shouldn’t Hide The Sad Periods Of History
How comforting to read the letter from Joe Dunn regarding the removal of Confederate monuments, street names and school names in Virginia! Where are the citizens of this great state who dare speak up like Mr. Dunn did? I am truly saddened by what is happening in our state with so many lies and incorrect stories about the Confederacy. It seems to be “in fashion” right now to join the bandwagon to banish part of our history and the true stories of the people during that time period.
I never see any news reporter interviewing peoples’ views of people that in all honesty believe that the history of slavery cannot be changed by destroying monuments and statues of honorable soldiers during that time in our country.
Where are our history teachers, professors and religious leaders on the treatment of Native Americans, discrimination against Mexicans who owned property in California before the United States occupied their lands and treated them as second class citizens? Do we hide that too? History has lots of sad periods, but we should not erase them because it does not agree with our way of thinking today.
No other nation in the world erases history by removing names and statues. All lives matter and all of history matters!
Via the Internet
Thanks for the Description of Republican Party
Regarding Nicholas Benton’s column last week, thank you, again, for a masterpiece description of what is going on in the Republican Party, since George Bush (and before).
They are demeaning humanity, the rules, regulations, the environment, health care and everything else they can to promote their small government, and tax breaks for the rich! They are so despicable. They are without morals, but full of greed.
I used to think the American people were so smart. I am really worried now! Thank you for always getting the message out.
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