Duke University removes statue of Confederate general

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Trump lamented the "removal of our attractive statues" in response to several cities across the country taking down monuments to Confederate generals and figures.

But are these monuments truly innocuous symbols of Confederate heritage, as their defenders argue? Should they be dismantled or destroyed?

While talking to reporters about protesters clashing in Charlottesville, Va., President Donald Trump asked a startling question about plans to remove a statue there of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee: "This week it's Robert E. Lee".

I respect my friend and colleague at WKYC, Russ Mitchell, as much as anyone I've ever come across in this business. The destination of the statues has not been determined.

"I believe you just did", Avlon said.

In August 1869, Lee turned down a request to meet with the other generals from the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) to mark the operations of both armies and to celebrate granite monuments.

He took aim at the removal or consideration for removal of Confederate statues and monuments in a long list of cities in states such as California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas. The chief communicator for the president's personal legal team attempting to curry sympathy for Confederates at a time when POTUS is sympathizing with white Supremacists has got me back in the game. Lee's was the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures to be removed under a 2015 City Council vote on a proposal by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The office of Mayor Mitch Landrieu received death threats ahead of the removals, and a removal contractor's vehicle was firebombed in 2016.

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This has created an additional headache for cities and spurred another debate: how to dispose of the statues once they are taken down.

While Confederate monuments did honor their white heroes, they did not always rely on the true history of what took place between 1861 and 1865. Often pulled down by angry mobs, some of the statues ended up in dumpsters and others in museums to teach people the evils of totalitarian regimes. But conflict over slavery was what drove the fight for states' rights and divided the country for years before the war. "These monuments should come down". On June 3, Jefferson Davis's birthday, Union veterans joined Confederate veterans, and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution joined members of the UDC, for the unveiling of what was billed as a "peace monument".

Trump lashed out on Thursday at Republican U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake, two leading critics, as well as the media, and said he not had drawn any moral comparisons between white supremacists and those who opposed them. The statues were meant to be an intimidating presence and convey to people of colour that there was a limit to their newly won freedoms and rights.

The argument that removing Confederate monuments is "changing history" and "culture" as the President did this week also fails to recognize the historical context and tainted culture in which the monuments were erected.

To have such defenders says a lot about the cause that Lee represented. That's a far less controversial stance - new polls show many Americans share his views on the statues, or are at least unsure how they feel about them.

RYE: I don't say they don't deserve to be taught about, learn about it so we don't repeat it because we are very close to repeating it right now. "This is about men who organized a system of government to maintain a system of slavery and to destroy the American union".

"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our attractive statues and monuments", Trump tweeted.

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