Amarillo, Texas, isn’t known as a hotbed of social or political activism.
Folks are fairly laid back. They’re friendly. They go about their business. They talk to each other a lot about the weather, which keeps residents on their toes, given its volatility.
I want to bring up an issue that likely isn’t on the top of most Amarillo residents’ minds. There’s a statue at Ellwood Park that pays tribute to the soldiers of the Confederate States of America. It went up in 1931. The Daughters of the Confederacy got it done. It depicts a soldier leaning on a rifle. You see the pedestal in the picture attached to this blog post.
Why mention it here? Why today? They’re taking down Confederate statues in New Orleans, where I reckon there exists a good bit more social/political activism — not to mention a population demographic that would take offense at any “monument” to the Confederacy.
That demographic would be the African-American population majority in the Big Easy.
Amarillo’s population has a far smaller percentage of African-American residents, so a Confederate statue isn’t likely to rile rank-and-file Amarillo residents.
However, if a movement to take that statue down were to materialize, I am one Amarillo resident who wouldn’t register a single objection. Why? The nation fought a war from 1861 until 1865 that killed more Americans than any other conflict in the nation’s history.
States seceded from the Union. Texas was one of them. The root cause of the Civil War continues to be debated, largely in classrooms throughout the former Confederate states.
The cause, as I was taught, centered on whether some states wanted to retain slave ownership, despite opposition to that policy from the federal government. The slavery issue has morphed in many Americans’ minds over the years into a “states’ rights” matter.
I don’t get it. Then again, that’s how I was taught.
Do I expect a take-the-statue-down movement to erupt in our relatively sleepy city? Nope. If it did, I’d simply say: Go for it!