Confederate Monuments Subject of Next "Soapbox" at SCC

Sep 21, 2017

soapbox flyerThe appropriateness of honoring Confederate leaders and ideology with monuments and other displays will be the topic of the next edition of SoapBox, Somerset Community College’s panel discussion series.

“Monumental Mess: Preserving History or Perpetuating Hate?” will be held on Tuesday, September 26 at 2 p.m. in the Rogers Student Commons Community Room, located on the Somerset Campus at 808 Monticello Street in Somerset.

Sponsored by The Bridge, SCC’s student newspaper, the event is free and open to the public.

According to SoapBox co-organizer Jeff Harris, the controversy surrounding Confederate symbolism is nothing new.

“It dates to the end of the Civil War,” said Harris. “But recent events have brought it into sharp focus. Battle lines have been drawn, both literally and figuratively.”

According to Harris, the decades-long debate intensified in June 2015, when white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African-American parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina. State leaders removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds less than a month after the massacre.

The debate reached a fever pitch in August after white nationalists protesting the removal of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, clashed with counterprotesters. One of the protestors, a reported Nazi-sympathizer, drove a car into a group of counterprotesters, leaving one dead and 19 injured.

“Since then, the calls for the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces have become louder and more urgent,” Harris said. “So have the rebuttals.”

Many seek to preserve the monuments as historical records or as symbols of Southern pride, he said.

A number of panelists are slated to appear, including Bill Estep, longtime Lexington Herald-Leader reporter for southern and eastern Kentucky; Dr. Michael Goleman, Associate Professor of History at SCC; Elaine Wilson, Diversity Coordinator at SCC; and Savanah Colangelo, Managing Editor of The Bridge.

“We expect to add another panelist or two,” said Harris, who is also a co-advisor for The Bridge. “We want as many viewpoints on this issue as we can get.”

For more information on SoapBox, now in its sixteenth year, contact SCC Assistant Professor of Political Science James Taylor at james.taylor@kctcs.edu, or SCC Professor of English Jeff Harris at jeff.harris@kctcs.edu.