In 1927, the Daughters of the Confederacy, a group dedicated to historical revisionism and reminding black people that white people thought they were superior to them, were dedicating something called the Dixie Highway. The Highway was just a bunch of backroads that connected the South to the Midwest, but see, actual historical importance didn’t matter to the Daughters. They just wanted to rehabilitate the image of Confederate leaders in the eyes of white America.
So when they dedicated a patch of this insignificant road near Franklin, Ohio, they asked if they could commemorate it with a statue of Robert E. Lee. Town leaders said yes, for some godforsaken reason. And there the statue stood (mostly forgotten) for nearly a century, until it was taken down by the township this past summer.
Now, WKYC reports the city has decided to reinstall the statue, because hundreds of Robert E. Lee stans swarmed the town and protested its removal. Franklin, Ohio, a town whose only connection to General Lee is its graveyard filled with soldiers who fought against him, would not allow the statue to come down.
It’s important to remember that states like Ohio were instrumental in Trump’s victory in the presidential election. In a USA Today article from August about the protests of the removal, nearly every quoted protestor talks about how they agree with Trump. Many of them blame Black Lives Matter for the removal, even though BLM has zero presence in the town. A woman named Jo Ann held up a sign that said “Honk if All Lives Matter” during the protests.
This small town is one of many, filled with ignorant, racially insensitive people who are absolutely unwilling to listen when people call them racially insensitive. They have no clue that these Confederate monuments were put up primarily out of nostalgia for an Old South that never existed and a desire to keep black people oppressed. They think these depictions of a heroic, compassionate Lee show him as he really was, when nothing could be further from the truth. These towns don’t realize they’re the victims of historical revisionism.
Statues of Lee, like the one pictured above in Fort Myers, Fla., have a way of popping up in towns like these.
To reiterate, because it bears repeating: Lee had no connection to Franklin. The town is hundreds of miles away from the nearest Confederate state. The only reason the statue was put up in the first place was because some racist Southern women named a road. The city even paid $2,000 to fix the plaque that was damaged during the removal process, a plaque that imparts this valuable historical information: “In loving memory of Robert E. Lee, And to mark the route of the Dixie Highway.”
See, that “historical information” bit is important, because that’s what a lot of the protestors cling to when defending the statue. They think taking down a historically revisionist statue “erases history.” They don’t realize that statues like these already rewrote it.