Poor rebel soldiers aren’t worst offenders -- Gary Gorman

July 29, 2018

As a member of a group of old guys that meets quarterly to study war history, I am following with interest the discussion by the city of Madison of the removal of a memorial to Confederate soldiers who died while prisoners of war at Camp Randall.

The majority of soldiers of the Confederacy did not come from families that owned slaves. An even smaller percentage of the soldiers themselves owned slaves. Most were young farm boys.

At the same time as Madison is considering removing a memorial to these soldiers, it continues to honor actual slave owners by naming schools, major roads and the city itself after slave owners.

George Washington (East and West Washington avenues) owned over 300 slaves. Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson middle school and street) owned over 600 slaves. James Monroe (Monroe Street) owned 75 slaves. James Madison (namesake of the city itself) owned over 100 slaves and did not even free them on his death.

If the goal of those who wish to cleanse the city of memorials to those that participated in or defended slavery is to remove all history of them, they should broaden their conversation.

Gary Gorman, Oregon

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