The Lives of My Ancestors Mattered, Too

Readability

The Lives of My Ancestors Mattered, Too

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – My ances­tors on my mother’s side were orig­i­nally from Castile, Spain; they set­tled in Natchez, Mis­sis­sippi and then moved to Rapi­des Parish in cen­tral Louisiana where they were landown­ers and planters. One of those men was Joseph Welsh Tex­ada who was a cap­tain in the 8th Louisiana Cav­alry and fought at Shiloh with the Cres­cent Reg­i­ment. I have heard the sto­ries of my ances­tral fam­ily for years from my mother, espe­cially, who was always very proud of her South­ern her­itage and of her family’s dis­tin­guished background.

At Shiloh alone 23,000 lives were lost. My ances­tor sur­vived and he went on to serve as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive and on his local Police Jury. His life mattered.

The nation­wide move to remove all Con­fed­er­ate sym­bols, mon­u­ments, his­tory is sim­ply appalling to me. Joseph Welsh’s life mat­tered and so did the lives of the 23,000 lost at Shiloh and the thou­sands at other battles.

In New Orleans, Gov­er­nor Mitch Lan­drieu has won yet another bat­tle to remove four iconic Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments in the city. Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 27, an Orleans parish judge denied a request to halt removal of the mon­u­ments and the Fourth Cir­cuit Court of Appeal upheld the deci­sion the next day. And so the bat­tle now moves to the Louisiana Supreme Court in what will be the last chance. Until all appeals are exhausted, a group sup­port­ing mon­u­ment preser­va­tion is con­tin­u­ing to col­lect sig­na­tures on a peti­tion which cur­rently has over 28,000 sig­na­tures. The large major­ity of NOLA res­i­dents is strongly against the removal.

New Orleans is, of course, not alone in this fight. All across the nation his­tory is being erased. There’s even been a move to remove the stained glass win­dows com­mem­o­rat­ing Stonewall Jack­son and Robert E. Lee from the National Cathe­dral in Wash­ing­ton. It’s also hap­pen­ing in Birm­ing­ham, and Atlanta. The Uni­ver­sity of Texas removed their statue of Jef­fer­son Davis last year. Many on the side of removal have sug­gested that these stat­ues and mon­u­ments be placed in a sort of inter­ac­tive his­toric park where peo­ple can still see them and learn about the his­tory. This guy, for exam­ple, sug­gest that these “objects of hate” be put into a park sim­i­lar to Memento Park in Budapest where images of Stalin, Lenin, and Gue­vara can be seen “in their proper context.”

My con­cern with that is who decides what the proper con­text is? I object to Robert E. Lee or Jef­fer­son Davis being clas­si­fied as an “object of hate” and in the same class as Lenin and Stalin. Quite a dif­fer­ence. If that’s the way these peo­ple view the Con­fed­er­ate gen­er­als, I have con­cerns about them writ­ing “the proper con­text” for this sug­gested park.

Again I ask, where in the world does this stop? Thomas Jef­fer­son had slaves: shall we tear down Mon­ti­cello? What of all the grand south­ern plan­ta­tions still stand­ing along the Mis­sis­sippi River and through­out the South? Shall we raze those and put up con­do­mini­ums in their place? Maybe we bet­ter stop the annual pil­grim­age in Natchez. The Williamson Museum in George­town had an Old South Ball this week­end as a fundraiser which was also attended by about 100 pro­test­ers. Protest­ing a dance? Like Foot­loose? Why does your ances­try trump mine? It’s too much.

It all just defies logic.

It makes me sad.

It makes me want to fight harder to pre­serve my own heritage.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – My ancestors on my mother’s side were originally from Castile, Spain; they settled in Natchez, Mississippi and then moved to Rapides Parish in central Louisiana where they were landowners and planters. One of those men was Joseph Welsh Texada who was a captain in the 8th Louisiana Cavalry and fought at Shiloh with the Crescent Regiment. I have heard the stories of my ancestral family for years from my mother, especially, who was always very proud of her Southern heritage and of her family’s distinguished background.

At Shiloh alone 23,000 lives were lost.  My ancestor survived and he went on to serve as a state representative and on his local Police Jury.  His life mattered.

The nationwide move to remove all Confederate symbols, monuments, history is simply appalling to me. Joseph Welsh’s life mattered and so did the lives of the 23,000 lost at Shiloh and the thousands at other battles.

In New Orleans, Governor Mitch Landrieu has won yet another battle to remove four iconic Confederate monuments in the city. Wednesday, January 27, an Orleans parish judge denied a request to halt removal of the monuments and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the decision the next day. And so the battle now moves to the Louisiana Supreme Court in what will be the last chance.  Until all appeals are exhausted, a group supporting monument preservation is continuing to collect signatures on a petition which currently has over 28,000 signatures. The large majority of NOLA residents is strongly against the removal.

New Orleans is, of course, not alone in this fight.  All across the nation history is being erased. There’s even been a move to remove the stained glass windows commemorating Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee from the National Cathedral in Washington. It’s also happening in Birmingham, and Atlanta. The University of Texas removed their statue of Jefferson Davis last year.  Many on the side of removal have suggested that these statues and monuments be placed in a sort of interactive historic park where people can still see them and learn about the history. This guy, for example, suggest that these “objects of hate” be put into a park similar to Memento Park in Budapest where images of Stalin, Lenin, and Guevara can be seen “in their proper context.”

My concern with that is who decides what the proper context is? I object to Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis being classified as an “object of hate” and in the same class as Lenin and Stalin. Quite a difference. If that’s the way these people view the Confederate generals, I have concerns about them writing “the proper context” for this suggested park.

Again I ask, where in the world does this stop? Thomas Jefferson had slaves: shall we tear down Monticello?  What of all the grand southern plantations still standing along the Mississippi River and throughout the South?  Shall we raze those and put up condominiums in their place?  Maybe we better stop the annual pilgrimage in Natchez. The Williamson Museum in Georgetown had an Old South Ball this weekend as a fundraiser which was also attended by about 100 protesters. Protesting a dance?  Like Footloose?  Why does your ancestry trump mine? It’s too much.

It all just defies logic.

It makes me sad.

It makes me want to fight harder to preserve my own heritage.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.