“Why are Lee and Jackson honored at Cathedral?”
That was the Washington Post’s Dec. 11 headline for columnist John Kelly’s piece about the National Cathedral, in which he contends:
- “I was surprised when I learned recently that two memorial niches – complete with stained glass windows and laudatory inscriptions – honor Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.”
- “Above each inscription are stained glass windows depicting events from the men’s lives. They even feature the Confederate flag.”
- “Absent from the hagiography is any suggestion that the cause Lee and Jackson fought for was in any way controversial, or that the presence of the niches is inappropriate for a cathedral, especially a cathedral in the capital of the union the generals tried to destroy.”
- “[T]here are the odes to Jackson and Lee, slave owners whose cause included keeping blacks in chains.”
This John Kelly’s reasoning in the Washington Post inevitably suggests that our nation’s capital needs to be renamed – so as to avoid mention of that slave owner named George Washington.
That was due to the fact that the father of our country inherited a plantation where there were slaves operating and in whose purchases he had not participated in but only inherited. That his will freed these slaves is on the record.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History reports:
- “Of the nine presidents who were slave holders, only George Washington freed all of his own slaves upon his death.”
- “Before the Revolution, Washington, like most white Americans, took slavery for granted. At the time of the Revolution, one-fifth of the colonies’ population lived in bondage. … New York City had more slaves than any other city except Charleston, S.C.”
- “In 1774, Washington endorsed a document known as the Fairfax Resolves, which condemned the slave trade as unnatural and recommended that no more slaves be imported.”
- “On Sept. 9, 1786, Washington wrote the following to John Mercer:
‘I never mean to possess another slave by purchase, it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery can be abolished in this country.’”
Considering all of this, there is also no need to rewrite the Declaration of Independence rather than continue honoring of another slave owner named Thomas Jefferson (whom so many zealots continue smearing with the Sally Hemings sex myth).
There is also no need to rewrite the Constitution rather than to allow it to honor that slave owner named James Madison.
It also needs to be remembered that the Civil War’s most effective top Union Army general was a former slave owner named Ulysses S. Grant.
Grant’s wife, Julia Dent Grant, kept owning her slaves throughout most of that war.