By Marc H. Morial
Nowhere else in the world but in the American South do a small and diminishing minority of citizens still celebrate and revere the military leaders who waged war and committed treason against the nation they claim to love. Most have moved on to an enlightened viewpoint of the New South – multicultural, diverse, dynamic and forward-thinking.
Nowhere else in the world could Owen Courrèges even attempt his absurd argument that New Orleans should honor an enemy of the United States because he died in the city. Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid in South Africa, died in Cape Town, but you will find no shrines to his memory there. New Orleans’ real heroes are Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt and numerous beloved cultural icons who are known and revered worldwide.
For too long, some have tolerated the lie of “The Lost Cause,” the sugarcoated illusion of the South’s bitter past. The leaders of the Confederacy were enemies of the United States, defending the most horrific system of brutalization and terrorism our nation has ever known.
If we call ourselves Americans, we have no business worshipping America’s enemies. New Orleans is now in the 21st Century and so many of us have worked and fought to overcome the ugliness of our past.
Mr. Morial is the President and CEO of the National Urban League. He served as Mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002.