Trustees | General Education

Don’t erase/ignore history

AMARILLO GLOBE-NEWS   |  January 16, 2016 by Editorial Board

Efforts to rewrite history by ignoring history continue. Sparked by irrational political correctness, attempts to remove each and every reference and symbol of the Confederacy from public view persist.

In one of the latest examples, the Houston Independent School District voted this past week to rename four of its schools because the schools are named for figures of the Confederacy — including Robert E. Lee.

The term “irrational” fits such attempts to erase all vestiges of the Confederacy.

Why? Because such efforts can be directly traced to a horrible mass shooting this past June in Charleston, S.C., by an alleged white supremacist.

It is difficult to see how removing all Confederate images from public view addresses the real possibility that the alleged murderer was mentally ill and/or deranged.

Speaking of history, it is often overlooked that this nation fought the bloodiest war in its history to rid itself of the plague of slavery.

And make no mistake about it: the Civil War was primarily about slavery — there is simply no other way to say it and be historically accurate.

However, incessant attempts to completely erase any and all Confederate images or references from the public domain accomplish nothing — and sacrifice history for the sake of political correctness.

Considering many Americans, especially younger Americans, are probably not even aware of who Robert E. Lee was, it seems highly unlikely his name on a school causes them any emotional damage. (In April, a survey released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni supports the claim that much of the nation is historically ignorant, unfortunately. According to the survey, only half of Americans knew when the Civil War occurred, and only 18 percent knew what the Emancipation Proclamation was. It is safe to assume even fewer Americans have a clue about Robert E. Lee.)

We’d also wager that not many Amarillo residents are aware that a large statue honoring Confederate soldiers sits in Amarillo’s Ellwood Park. Or that Randall County is named for Horace Randal, a Confederate brigadier general. (A clerical error led to the extra “l” in Randall.)

If we follow the logic (or lack thereof), simply because an individual so filled with hate and/or evil that he was more than likely insane committed a heinous act of murder and terrorism, the entire nation must remove each and every image of the Confederacy? To describe this as an extreme reaction is an understatement.

What should be remembered about this nation’s history is that the country went through a brutal and horrible war to purge itself of slavery — and rightly so.

Fortunately, things have changed in America since 1865.

And erasing and ignoring history does not change this fact.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

Discover More