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How much U.S. history is going to be erased? | READER COMMENTARY

The statue of Capt. John O'Donnell is removed from Canton. April 5, 2021. (McKenna Oxenden/Baltimore Sun).
The statue of Capt. John O'Donnell is removed from Canton. April 5, 2021. (McKenna Oxenden/Baltimore Sun). (McKenna Oxenden/Baltimore Sun)

If we are going to continue removing statues of our founding fathers (”Symbols that occupy our collective landscape matter,” April 7), we should take a moment to consider what that says about the foundations of our country. Because, like Capt. John O’Donnell, who made his money in shipping and importing, many of our founding fathers — including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Patrick Henry and Charles Carroll — owned plantations and operated them using the labor of enslaved people.

If we demolish statues honoring local noteworthy gentlemen in an effort to remove them from our history, shouldn’t we also demolish the statues of the national founding fathers? And if we do that, what are we saying about the overall precepts on which this country is founded? That the work of these men was in error? Irrelevant?

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We have evolved as a nation, abolishing slavery, instituting public education, granting suffrage to everyone (originally it was limited to male land owners), establishing the rights of all to seek gainful employment and passing laws to protect those rights. But evolution does not happen in an instant. It is a process, a gradual process. And for those waiting for the final result, that can be tedious.

We cannot continue to try to erase our history, destroy our local and national monuments and diminish the recognition of those who went before us, just to try to hurry this evolution. It is an exercise in futility. Should we continue to push the evolution? Yes. We should emphasize change for the better. We should loudly protest those who strive to stop the change. We should make every effort to assure equality in a good, balanced education, in job opportunities, in housing, in health care and all other matters that affect quality of life.

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Erasing our history by destroying monuments does nothing to accomplish any of this.

Sarah A. Riley, Timonium

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