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In a letter to the editor in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Bill Melton, ’74U (and member of Not Unmindful) poses this very question. Lots of good stuff here. Key points are summarized below:

The university’s board of trustees faced a choice between two facts: (1) Lee was a good college president for five years, and (2) Lee was a traitor who led the fight for slavery. They chose the first as more important. The effect is to tell the world that W&L continues to believe the white supremacist myth of the Civil War’s Lost Cause.

Bill Melton, in his letter

He continues:

Some say Lee was opposed to slavery, but his actions — as military leader and as a slave owner — speak louder than his words. Some say he was a force for postwar reconciliation. Publicly he was for reconciliation between whites, but he worked behind the scenes to fight Black equality.

By failing to act at this pivotal time of racial reckoning, the trustees have in effect changed our school’s name — to the University of the Confederacy. Because that is how the world will see us.

Bill Melton, in his letter


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