By Charles Philip Brinkman, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
I wrote a letter to the editor over the summer advocating the removal of the Appomattox, a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier, from its position of prominence at South Washington and Prince streets to a spot that removes any indication of city sympathy to the Confederate cause (“Your View: Public Confederate memorials imply government approval,” July 30).
But the recent clamor to rename streets named after Confederate leaders seems over the top. Although their ultimate cause was the continuation and expansion of the institution of slavery, and there should be no doubt that it was evil and unjust, that does not mean that those who supported it were evil and despicable. As individuals, they were probably no better or worse than their Union brothers. People are a product of their time and place.
More pragmatically, it will cost money and cause confusion. Besides, people do not generally think of those for whom the streets were named. They are now mere monikers indicating a place.
The same can be said for T. C. Williams High School, which is named for an avowed segregationist. To present and former pupils and Alexandrians, it is just the name of their school. Few know and fewer care that he supported segregation in complete antithesis to the school’s diversity. History is full of ironies.