Irma forces Confederate panel event to reschedule

A panel discussion on Confederate monuments planned for tonight will be held later this month, due to Hurricane Irma - now Tropical Storm Irma.

“Confederate Memorials: De-Mythologizing the Iconography of the South,” has been moved to at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown. Admission is free but registration is encouraged. See this web site for details.

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Confederate monuments come down throughout the South 

“We need to be talking about history,” Atlanta History Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale said during an interview last year, when furor over the Charleston shootings of nine worshippers prompted a rash of monument removals, including several in New Orleans. “These monuments give you an opportunity to talk about it.”

The Atlanta History Center at the time launched a segment on its web site aimed at helping communities repurpose Confederate monuments or statues as learning opportunities.

“For us it’s really about reinterpreting these monuments and turning them into artifacts, to really change the conversation,” Hale said. “It’s extremely important for us to remember our history.”

The panel discussion will be “a frank discussion with several scholars of Southern history, culture, and literature, as they consider the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and symbols and their relationship to racial division, injustice, and violence,” a statement from the Atlanta History Center said.

Speakers include Regina Bradley, Kennesaw State University; James A. Crank, University of Alabama; Maurice J. Hobson, Georgia State University; and Erich Nunn, Auburn University.

Protestors demand the removal of "Silent Sam," a statue placed in memory of Confederate soldiers on the University of North Carolina campus. Photo: Jennifer Brett

More monuments have come down since violence in Charlottesville claimed the life of activist Heather Heyer. Her mother, Susan Bro, appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night to announce a foundation launched in her daughter’s memory. The Rev. Robert Lee IV, descendant of CSA Gen. Robert E. Lee, introduced Bro.

“We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate,” he said. “As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin. Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head on.”

Lee graduated from Duke University’s Divinity School with a master’s in theology. A statue of Gen. Lee was removed from Duke Chapel recently after protesters damaged it.

Down the road from Duke, protestors have called for the removal of “Silent Sam.”

Erected in 1913 by the North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and UNC alumni, Silent Sam is sort of a generic tombstone, commemorating “the sons of the University who entered the war of 1861-65,” a plaque on one side says. Tuesday was the first day of classes and fliers posted throughout the campus urged people to attend a rally connoting the statue’s “last semester on campus.”

MORE: The University of Texas has relocated several statues with Confederate ties from the center of campus to a nearby museum

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