07/15 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces | Louisiana Public Square | LPB
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Video Playlist:

Play Button  Full Program - Full Program
Play Button  Extra - Three Distinct Memories - Gaines Foster, a Civil War historian at LSU, explains that each side has a distinct interpretation of the Civil War
Play Button  Extra - The Problem with General Lee - Gaines Foster, a Civil War historian at LSU, dissects Robert E. Lee’s qualities as a general versus a role model
Play Button  Extra - Slavery Underemphasized? - Ashley Rogers, Director of Operations at Whitney Plantation, says most Americans don’t realize how little they know about slavery
Play Button  Extra - The Learning Crisis - Ashley Rogers, Director of Operations at Whitney Plantation, explains why visitors are sometimes upset
Play Button  Extra - Black Lives Matter - Ashley Rogers, Director of Operations at Whitney Plantation, explains how a popular slogan has its roots in the past
Play Button  Extra - The Conversations We Need - Lloyd Thompson, head of the Shreveport NAACP, says the community needs to get past the statue to talk about real issues
Play Button  Extra - Flags of the Confederacy - Dr. Gary Joiner, a Civil War historian with LSU-Shreveport, walks through the five flags of the Confederacy and what they meant to soldiers
Play Button  Extra - Legal Complications - Dr. Gary Joiner, a Civil War historian with LSU-Shreveport, says the ownership of the land the monument sits on is complicated

07/15 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces

Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

After recent racially motivated violence in Charleston, South Carolina, state governments around the South are reevaluating the display of the Confederate battle flag on public grounds. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is calling for input on the removal of Civil War memorials. What should be the role of state and local government in regulating these symbols? Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

How does free speech factor into the debate? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces,” airing Wednesday, July 22nd at 7 p.m. on LPB HD. (Taping Tuesday July 21st.)

Click here to take the online survey

Click here to view the online survey results

Our Panelists:

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


Thank you for the opportunity. I, too, believe history should stand. However, if many oppose, then we should not offend, shame on you who oppose! Lets build bigger and better statues and surround the existing with more striking, eye catching, statues or flags or such.

Posted by Charlotte Russell  on  07/23  at  10:24 AM

Well done. Such a difficult subject. It appears that the misused Confederate banner has caused too much controversy. The only point that I have a problem with is one gentleman went overboard with the
use of the term treason. He forgets that the Supreme Court at that time declined to try Jefferson Davis because they knew it would not fly. Someone on your panel needed to remind the gentleman of this. Treason is a modern interpretation that ignores history and the Constitution.

Posted by Robert Bailey  on  07/23  at  10:37 AM

Regarding the Confederate flag: I am a southener and this is part of my heritage. However, in the Bible, Paul says, “If thine offends thee, pluck it out.” If the Confederate flag offends ANYONE, then it should not be displayed. Little minds will not agree with me but that is their right.

Posted by Pat Almquist  on  07/23  at  10:40 AM

what about the irish slaves that came first ?

Posted by sherry kindley  on  07/23  at  10:43 AM

While watching this program I was alarmed at the comments of Alfreda Tillman Bester of the Louisiana NAACP. Ms. Tillman Bester mentioned that people who have a Confederate Flag on their vehicle identifies basically what type of person they are. Another guest referred to her as a bigot and rightfully so. Ms.Tillman Bester made raciest comments in this arena.She does not know anything about me(Or Others) or my beliefs and feelings. I believe in what the Confederate Battle Flag represents and those beliefs do not fit in with Ms. Tillman Bester’s raciest views. People should view this program again and listen closely to what Ms. Tillman Bester actually stated. I believe she should now resign from the NAACP and Federal Officials should investigate the Louisiana NAACP seeking a possible raciest agenda. It was all to obvious! I can only wonder now of NAACP agencies across America and their behaviors as well.

Posted by James Litsey  on  07/23  at  11:57 AM

First let me say that I didn’t complete and submit a survey because it is myopically written and biased.  For example, you ask of Confederate solders should be memorialized in public, but you don’t differentiate when you ask about black soldiers.  They fought on both sides.  You need to do a major rethink and rewrite of your survey.

This is a tremendously complicated issue going right back to the establishment of the country which would have never happened without accommodations to the agrarian South in the form of our Federal House and Senate.  States right were a major stumbling block to our founding and remain so today.
All states had slaves at the nations founding.  Enlightened people saw the wrong and worked to correct it.  Certain states worked to perpetuate slavery because it was the basis of their economy, hearkening back to the original issue of the industrial and more populated North and the sparsely populated Southern states.  We were a country not yet even 100 years old and a crime against humanity that had been paved over to get the signatures necessary to declare Independence now became reckon-able. So we went through a civil war to determine what kind of a country we would should actually be.  That battle cost around 620,000 lives.  It should have been over in 1865, instead it is still being fought.  Are we yet even close to being the country we promised to be when the Preamble, Declaration and Constitution were written.  You might also ask the original Americans that question.

I don’t see the battle flag as racist in and of itself, but it is surely used to support racism and intimidate people. It is not the flag, but the intent with which it is displayed.

There are countless reenactments of civil war battles both private and government sponsored at National Park and State Park battlegrounds.  What would those be without the colors?  Should we have Federal troops rushing and empty field or fortification?  Should we stop all memorials and observations? Just what is it that we are memorializing and why?

The battle flag was never a standard for the Confederacy and should have no place flying with or as part of any current state flag.  If it belongs anywhere, it is in museums, reenactments and on private property, if anywhere.  It was a battle flag and the war was over 150 years ago.

Posted by Robert Hathaway  on  07/23  at  01:28 PM

It’s long past time for “Confederatophobia” to be stamped out.  That’s a mental disease that obscures the historical facts from the sufferer.  “Confederatophobia” can be cured with frequent visits to a library to read the original history books.  There is absolutely nothing “wrong” with any of the statues and monuments that honor our Southern heroes, they deserved the honors when the statues were erected and they still deserve them now.  What the people need is a proper education, not the brainwashing that ignorant and hateful educators and politicians have forced on them.  Start by reading “The Un-Civil War” by Leonard Scruggs, “Truth Of The War Conspiracy” by H W Johnstone and “Complicity: How The North Promoted, Prolonged And Profited From Slavery” by Farrow and Lang.  Keep all the statues and monuments and plaques where they are, and protect them from the ignorant “Taliban” who want to destroy history.

Posted by John Mann  on  07/23  at  07:03 PM

I listened to what Ashley Rodgers the Dir. Of Operations of the Whitney Plantation . She said ask the Confederates what they fought for and they would most certainly tell you it is slavery… She could not be more WRONG ... Want to hear it strait from A Confederate your self, go to the History Channel.. But I guess Ashley would know more as she fought in the war her self.. Some one that is a director of a Plantation the only one in the USA that does Tours. And she knows so little about the war its self how shameful . I wont be going there nor will I recommend any one going there.. SMH..

Posted by Charlie Johnson  on  07/25  at  08:30 AM

The Confederate flag & memorials in public places are an embarrassment to those communities. Leave them in the museums, cemeteries & battlefields of the past where they belong.  Have your teaching moments there.  I guess I should be thankful that more statues are being erected for Dylan Roof, Jeffrey Dahmer, the 911 bombers & other murderers & rapists, so that we could have that teaching moment.  For the record, I’m a white Southerner.  There are plenty of things that you can take Southern pride in especially the music & the food.  We’ll always have this ugly part of our history, but it should not be remembered w/reverence nor do I want to be reminded of it every time I walk into a Justice bldg. or drive around town.

Posted by DW  on  07/25  at  06:47 PM

I thought your show was good. I could see some of their points about not having flag flown. But where do you stop like one lady said. If you stop doing things cause you offend people where do you stop. We all are offended somehow. When I get offended I just say forget them & go about my business & live my life. Are you going to take down all statues? One of our reasons for the civil war was against slavery. We corrected that problem. No slavery. We need to get over this being offended. Political Correctness is going to destroy this country. It is doing a toll on it now. I heard Walter Williams ( a black professor from George Mason College) say that slavery was wrong, but he’s glad that there was slavery because he would not be in America. This man is a very smart man and said the truth.
The production was very good!!! I want tell the producers I was well please how it turned out!! Good job!!!

Posted by Mike Sterba  on  08/05  at  01:33 PM
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