The people of Shreveport scored a victory for freedom and equality this week when the Caddo Parish Commission voted to remove the Confederate monument from the grounds of the local courthouse.
The vote sent a strong message that Shreveport is a place where freedom and equality are valued, and where white supremacy is confronted – not glorified.
While these monuments may seem harmless, they are anything but. These statues were built to redeem the Confederacy as a patriotic cause, and their continued presence undermines the cause of equality and empowers white supremacy.
The monument in Caddo Parish was dedicated in 1906, four decades after the end of the Civil War, and is adorned with busts of Confederate generals. Like others like it across the country, it was built to celebrate and sanitize the Confederacy, perpetuating its hateful ideology and recasting it as heroism.
Contrary to popular belief, removing a monument designed to commemorate those who fought to preserve slavery does not risk forgetting or repeating that ugly part of our history. Instead, removing this monument will allow Shreveport to confront that history squarely and honestly. We can’t build a stronger and more equitable future by lying about our past.
Slavery spawned unfathomable suffering. Forcing those whose families were victims to live alongside a monument to those who induced their suffering is not the road to reconciliation. A courthouse must stand for impartiality and equal justice. Everyone must feel equal walking through courthouse doors.
Many have spoken of the message of inequality they perceive at the Caddo Parish Courthouse because of the presence of the Confederate monument.
Shreveport has taken a long-overdue step forward toward justice and equality. Now it’s up to other Louisiana cities to follow Shreveport’s lead and end the harmful glorification of white supremacy in our public spaces.