It seems that every other day we are facing yet another debacle over whether or not to remove a statue or plague remembering history in this country...You remember the Charlottesville Robert E. Lee statue that caused an uproar? It's almost become a movement in and of itself to tear down statues that have anything even remotely to do with a time in a America where slavery existed. Now in Martha's Vineyard, two pieces of local memorabilia are under scrutiny for their association with the Civil War. There is a statue of a Union solider and a plaque that commemorates Charles Strahan, who was a Confederate solider who then eventually moved to Martha's Vineyard. The NAACP, otherwise known as "The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People", wants both the statue and plaque removed because they do not believe visitors (Black or African American visitors in particular) to the island should be greeted by anything giving a nod or recognition to the Confederacy.
Now take that on the surface and having a Confederate solider highlighted might seem offensive but like anything else you need to look into the backstory of this individual and not just the facts on the surface. While Charles Strahan was indeed a Confederate solider, he lived in Maryland and crossed state lines to Virginia to join the war effort. He was injured in battle and luckily survived. After his time in the service, he moved to Martha's Vineyard (for unknown reasons) and did a lot of good within the community. He bought a local newspaper and constructed a Memorial Day celebration on the island a couple years later. Union veterans did take aim with Strahan for his association with the Confederate army at first but over time realized what Strahan was trying to do for veteran relations. Strahan was the one who initially started a fundraising effort in the first place, to put up a Union soldier statue on the island highlighting those men who bravely fought against the very army he was a part of! Strahan even used his own money to finish the statue when funds did not meet the necessary amount required to complete the statue. Long story short, even though Strahan fought for the Confederacy, he gave back to his community and worked heavily on veteran relations. Not everything is so clear cut.
Even though Strahan appeared to NOT be a racist and spent the later years of his life in New England, does that warrant his plaque being taken down? An upstanding citizen in the community who did a lot for not only Union soldiers but the Martha's Vineyard community as a whole is being wiped from recognition or history because he fought for the South. Is there no such thing as redemption? Does a life lived doing good and giving back after the one choice to fight in a cause that tied into slavery, discredit a man forever? According to the left, yes. How about according to you?
The Oak Bluffs Board of Selectmen are set to meet this week on this issue & how to proceed forward.