Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Afro 298 Fourth Assignment

I was not surprised when walking to the Alabama state Capitol and seeing a memorial dedicated to the generals of the Confederacy. I was not surprised to see a confederate flag, but I was surprised by how blatantly racist the quotes on the statues were. The quote about the "knightliest of the knightly race" I found very shocking. That is a quote advocating for White supremacy and I didn't think that Montgomery would include that. When the tour started, I went into it thinking that the tour would be very racist and not mention the real reason the Civil War was fought and glorify all of Alabama's racist leaders. Unfortunately, I was right. When the tour guide started to talk about the Alabama state flag and how the white represents cotton, she then started to talk about cotton and how it was produced in the "black belt" in the south and exported. She did not once mention the slaves who picked the cotton, and completely ignored what the Civil War was fought for. She gave a typical southern answer when saying that slavery was fought for state's rights, while it was really the right to own slaves. Personally, I think it is a disgrace to have confederate flags still up in the Capitol. That flag represents slavery, and having it up shows that the state of Alabama is not ashamed of their history of slavery. The Capitol is supposed to represent all of Alabama.

Another thing that really bothered me about the tour was that the portrait of George Wallace was up along with his wife. There were no portraits of people who actually did good things for Alabama, but instead segregationists like George Wallace and his wife. There was even a bust of Lurleen Wallace, who was also a segregationist. It featured a quote with her advocating for liberty, which was extremely hypocritical. The tour guide even made a comment saying that Governor Wallace was a segregationist, but not racist. What she failed to see was that when you support dividing the races, that is racism. There is no difference. The portraits of George Wallace and his wife should be removed from the Capitol and replaced with images of the people of Alabama who were involved with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and other movements that helped Alabama to progress.

Although we cannot blame the tour guides for what is in the Capitol, we can hold them accountable for the information they present. Slavery needs to be mentioned and not ignored, no matter how shameful it is for Alabama. I am glad I was able to see the Alabama state Capitol because it showed me how racist the state governments still are. The Confederacy is not something to be proud of, and racist governors like George Wallace are also not something to be proud of.

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