If you ever visit the Capital complex in Richmond, Virginia you might notice the interesting and sometimes ironic mixture of commemoration along its walkways.
First there is the large and commanding monument to George Washington, Father to the United States, who led a revolution to create this country. Interestingly this statue also hosted the inaguration of Jefferson Davis on February 22, 1862, a man leading a new war to alter or destroy (depending on your opinion) the nation Washington built.
Then there is the almost expected monument to Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson side-by-side with one for Hunter Holmes McGuire, the doctor who treated Jackson’s wounds and pneumonia after Chancellorsville but could not save the General.
And finally at the end of the row of Confederate monuments stands one to the triumph of Civil Rights. This monument commemorates the actions of 16-year old Barbara Johns who led a walkout of students at Robert R. Morton High School in Farmville, VA, and the court case (Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County) that eventually became part of Brown V. Board of Education. The resulting Supreme Court decison ruled against “separate but equal” in schools and marked a major victory against segregation.
Revolution to Civil War to Civil Rights. In one line of monuments, the twists and turns, victories and defeats of American history become apparent, along with the interesting ways we remember them.