Franklin Times Editorial: Thoughts on Our Monument
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor popular, but he must take it because conscious tells him it is right.”
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have the honor of having served on the Faculty at Louisburg College, and have been a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for the past 35 years. Please know that the thoughts I offer in this editorial are mine alone and do not reflect in any manner a collective statement from either of these institutions. They are solely mine, and serve only to build up the good works of my College, my Church, and my Community.
Although my professional life is that of an educator and an artist, I am able to offer a sermon several times a year at both my place of work at our Chapel Services, and at my place of worship. Such was the case last month when I gave a Sermon on the 22nd Chapter of Matthew, verses 1-14. This is the parable in which Jesus says, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” In my remarks, I share my family’s generational connection to Louisburg.
My Great-Great Grandfather was Confederate Captain Richard Fenner Yarborough. In 1864 he gave 3 ½ acres of his farmland north of town on the Warrenton Road to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, to be used as a Cemetery. This Historic Oakwood Cemetery would then be deeded from our Church to the Town of Louisburg in 1932.
In my sermon I asked those gathered to consider the possibility of the town’s moving our “To Our Confederate Dead” Monument from its current site on the top of College Hill in the middle of Main Street and the Louisburg College Campus, to the quiet and reflective environment of Oakwood Cemetery. This move would be accomplished without anger or resentment, but with a proper collective humility. For me, this is what a restorative and compassionate justice could look like.
This move of our Monument, which has been in its current location for 104 years, to Oakwood Cemetery would neither change nor erase history. It would simply enable the Monument to be seen in a place of solemn reflection, where actual Civil War Veterans are buried, and shift it away from the front and center of the everyday civic lives of all of our residents of Louisburg today in 2017. In its place I propose to move the flagpole and our American flag, which stands just 30 feet to the east, to be placed in the center of the heart of our small town.
If you would like to read my Sermon in its entirety, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I will send you a copy. I ask only for you to not rush to judgment, but consider that this may just be a possibility for all the members of our Town and County, brown and black and white, to join hands and face our future with pride and acceptance that, “Both in our living, and in our dying, we belong to God, we belong to God.”