Deo Vindice: Rethinking Confederate monuments

On July 6, 2015 by M. Scott Mahaskey
Confederate flag detail part of a monument to Virginia's Confederate soldiers in Jackson Park - outside the Albemarle County Courthouse - photographed July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Confederate flag detail part of a monument to Virginia’s Confederate soldiers in Jackson Park – outside the Albemarle County Courthouse – photographed July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

The Confederate flag is, quite literally, etched in stone throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. As lawmakers in South Carolina consider removing the battle flag over state grounds, there is a renewed interest in considering whether such visuals are appropriate on monuments and statues in public venues. Even beyond the image of the flag itself, protesters have recently taken to spray painting “Black Lives Matter” aboard Virginia statues dedicated to Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate states. The monument today continues to serve as a regular backdrop for ceremonies honoring Confederate dead.

Amid Confederate flag controversy, some residents are calling of the removal of a 12-foot statue dedicated to the Confederate fallen soldiers of Loudoun County outside the Loudoun County Courthouse photographed June 30, 2015 in Alexandria, VA (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Amid Confederate flag controversy, some residents are calling of the removal of a 12-foot statue dedicated to the Confederate fallen soldiers of Loudoun County outside the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, VA (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. photographed July 1, 2015. The statue is placed below the Confederate seal that reads "Deo Vindice" - or "Under God, our Vindicator." (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. photographed July 1, 2015. The statue is placed below the Confederate seal that reads “Deo Vindice” – or “Under God, our Vindicator.” (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Detail from monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. photographed July 1, 2015. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Detail from monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. photographed July 1, 2015. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Remains of graffiti that read "Black Lives Matter" tagged to the exterior wall of a monument to Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. photographed July 1, 2015. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Remains of graffiti that read “Black Lives Matter” tagged to the exterior wall of a monument to Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. photographed July 1, 2015. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Amid Confederate flag controversy, at least one local lawmaker has called for removal of ÒAppomattoxÓ, a tribute to Confederate soldiers shown June 29, 2015 in Alexandria, VA (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Amid Confederate flag controversy, at least one local lawmaker has called for removal of “Appomattox”, a tribute to Confederate soldiers shown June 29, 2015 in Alexandria, VA (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Detail showing a Confederate flag etched into a shelf held by winged statues part of the Stonewall Jackson Monument photographed July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Detail showing a Confederate flag etched into a shelf held by winged statues part of the Stonewall Jackson Monument photographed July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Park employees tends to flowers surround the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Park employees tends to flowers surround the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Remains of multiple graffiti marks shown on base of Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Remains of multiple graffiti marks shown on base of Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Detail of 'CSA' belt buckle on statue dedicated to Confederate fallen of Loudoun County outside the Loudoun County Courthouse photographed June 30, 2015 in Alexandria, VA (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Detail of ‘CSA’ belt buckle on statue dedicated to Confederate fallen of Loudoun County outside the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, VA (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Confederate flag detail part of a monument to Virginia's Confederate soldiers in Jackson Park - outside the Albemarle County Courthouse - photographed July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Confederate flag detail part of a monument to Virginia’s Confederate soldiers in Jackson Park – outside the Albemarle County Courthouse – photographed July 1, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Robert E. Lee statue along Monument Ave. July 1, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

Robert E. Lee statue along Monument Ave. in Richmond, Virginia. Around 60-feet tall, the monument is the tallest among those along Monument Ave. (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

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