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Good or bad, we need to learn from history

I know there’s a lot of controversy over the Confederate statues and flags, but we have to look at their history and their purpose.

The vast majority of the statues were built between the 1890s and 1950s.

That was the height of the Jim Crow Era. Jim Crow laws were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation. Black people were denied the right to vote, hold jobs, acquire an education and other opportunities.

Those who attempted to defy Jim Crow laws often faced arrest, fines, jail sentences, violence and death.

One of the methods of death was lynchings. From 1882-1968, 3,446 Black lynchings occurred in the United States. A total of 1,297 white people were lynched for helping Black people or being anti-lynching. They became a popular way of resolving some of the anger that whites had for free Blacks.

During this era, the Black Wall Street Massacre took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921.

Mobs of white residents attacked Black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Homes and businesses were burnt to the ground. Some 800 people were hospitalized, 1,600 were detained and hundreds were killed.

The number hasn’t been determined because a mass grave has never been excavated. It’s believed it could be as high as 300. No one was arrested.

This was one of the biggest cover-ups in our history.

The majority of the statues have been built with the intention not to honor fallen soldiers, but specifically to further ideals of white supremacy. They were made to intimidate Black people.

Displaying flags of the confederate states of America also started during the Jim Crow Era, and it increased as a response to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and continues to this day in support of white nationalist and white supremacist movements.

While talking to a friend about the statues and flags, I told him about the Jim Crow Era. He had never heard of it.

Our history books don’t tell these stories. We should learn from our history whether it’s good or bad. I heard a congressman say that children shouldn’t hear all this negativity.

This country has a dark past and those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

David McCoy

Hollidaysburg

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