Restricted VMI Board of Visitors to remove Jackson statue

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
On one of my VMI facebook groups. I was asked why I care about this so much, considering so many alumni have distinguished themselves in other conflicts....basically, why do we as alumni even care about the Civil War - it was a very short period of time 150 years ago and VMI has since graduated cadets that have distinguished themselves across the globe in every conflict, so what's the big deal? Why not replace the statues with more current memorials to the alumni of Vietnam and OIF, etc? My response follows:

“Perhaps our objection is based on VMI’s significant role in the Civil War, where an entire core of cadets was pitched into battle as a single unit? Perhaps it is because of the uniqueness of the very citizen-soldiers we graduate, all of whom are molded in the image of our VMI forefathers who exhibited the ultimate display of fortitude, courage and sacrifice on that rainy, stormy day in New Market? Perhaps it is because the Institute is unlike any other school in the nation...the only school to engage in battle not for the issue of slavery or to support a cause, but simply out of devotion to duty and to their very own classmates, who like them, entered the hard, cruel world of adulthood far before they should have.

No one is downplaying the other examples of graduates who have contributed to society, the military or industry. However, as a school and a institution, the single largest and most significant event in our history as a Corps was the battle of Newmarket and the part VMI cadets played in the Civil War. No other school in the nation has ever pitched her entire Corps of cadets into battle and suffered losses like VMI did at the battle New Market against overwhelming Union odds. It’s not about worshipping the south or the confederacy or slavery. It’s about our lineage and our undeniable connection to the war and how the cadets truly distinguished themselves and the Institute that day.

Not every VMI cadet served in WWI or WWII. Not every cadet went to Korea, Vietnam, or served in OIF, OEF, Grenada, Beirut, Korea, Lebanon or any other battle or war in the history of the school. The ties to the Civil War are different and as such, the historical bonds we have with the Confederacy, regardless of one's personal feelings on the matter, cannot be ignored. Tearing down the monuments to our past and the icons that serve as visual reminders of our legacy from 150 years ago may well appease a small percentage of alumni and outsiders, but to those who are able to separate our past sins from the historical context during which they occurred, the removal of Jackson's statue and other items related to our past is sacrilege. Mature adults and children alike can learn from our past. It's the same reason certain concentration camps in Germany are allowed to remain - to teach those who were not there so that they do not make the same mistakes. One may not agree with the ideology of the South during the mid 1800's, but whitewashing it from today's classrooms and properties only serves to makes us a more ignorant nation who will be doomed to repeat our mistakes.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Very good and true points made for both retention of the monuments as well as removal.

( To remove and not educate is really missing a teachable opportunity to me.)
What would you teach. Most of history slavery has been legal and sanctioned by religion.
 

jcaesar

Private
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Very good and true points made for both retention of the monuments as well as removal.

( To remove and not educate is really missing a teachable opportunity to me.)

Actually, there has been the reverse and been a very aggressive attempt by the cultural elites to radically alter the history of not only men like Lee and Jackson, but men like Jefferson as well.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
What would you teach. Most of history slavery has been legal and sanctioned by religion.
atlantis, good question. I’ve been thinking on just that. I am working with children so it will be a very different dialogue than one could present to college or older adults. Mostly, it’s fifth and second graders and every so often I’ll get an AP high school class visiting.

I usually try to be very honest and I answer whatever questions are asked to the best of my abilities. I explain what slavery is and who the enslaved were. Usually, we’ve touched on the sugar triangle as the students are in the kitchen and I like them to try raw sugar cane if they’d like to and then, if dietary requirements will allow, they get a hearth baked colonial era recipe cookie to eat while they walk to their next segment of the tour.
Most of the students who visit, don’t know about slavery. And, it comes up when we talk about artisan apprentices, indentured servants and the enslaved. Basically a compare and contrast what each distinction means.

I think if I was working on a curriculum to further add to the short time I am with the students, I’d increase my time and go further into all the ways the enslaved were responsible for all the pretty things they were going to see in the manor house and how hard they worked and how all their work is why our country is as amazing as it is. I’d want to further add to the part I already discuss about how it was so sad that people were taken from their homes and they were sold like cattle. And that adults back then thought it was ok to do because it had been done for hundreds of years but that we need to remember that 1) just because things have been the same for hundreds of years doesn’t automatically make it right and 2) adults can be wrong too.
People realized just how bad slavery was and in Europe they stopped having people brought over and sold. But, it took a lot longer for the colonies and the country to understand this too. So many of the big farms needed the workers so they could do all the work for them. Then, ask how they’d feel if they had to do work all day every day and never got time off or any money for it. (Trust me, the kids will tell you how they feel about this. ) Then, just reinforce that they’re right that people starting feeling sad about it but the people who still made money from having the enslaved work for them to make their money didn’t want to give that up. And, just like they might argue with their sibling, we had a huge argument the split the whole country apart. And this was the Civil War. But, once the War was over, we made up and cane back together as a country.
But, talking about slavery is hard sometimes because nobody likes to remember the bad things they did to someone else. And, we need to make ourselves to talk about it so we can make sure that it won’t ever happen again.
Then, open up for their questions.
There’s a fine line between showing how horrible slavery was and giving a second grader nightmares. You don’t want to brush it aside, but you need to know the students a little bit to know how far to go with the subject. I usually ask the teachers in the groups before I start what they have previously discussed so I know where to go.

But, yeah, it’s a difficult thing to talk about but I believe it’s far worse not to talk about it. You know? Hope what I rambled on about answered your question and made sense too.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
atlantis, good question. I’ve been thinking on just that. I am working with children so it will be a very different dialogue than one could present to college or older adults. Mostly, it’s fifth and second graders and every so often I’ll get an AP high school class visiting.

I usually try to be very honest and I answer whatever questions are asked to the best of my abilities. I explain what slavery is and who the enslaved were. Usually, we’ve touched on the sugar triangle as the students are in the kitchen and I like them to try raw sugar cane if they’d like to and then, if dietary requirements will allow, they get a hearth baked colonial era recipe cookie to eat while they walk to their next segment of the tour.
Most of the students who visit, don’t know about slavery. And, it comes up when we talk about artisan apprentices, indentured servants and the enslaved. Basically a compare and contrast what each distinction means.

I think if I was working on a curriculum to further add to the short time I am with the students, I’d increase my time and go further into all the ways the enslaved were responsible for all the pretty things they were going to see in the manor house and how hard they worked and how all their work is why our country is as amazing as it is. I’d want to further add to the part I already discuss about how it was so sad that people were taken from their homes and they were sold like cattle. And that adults back then thought it was ok to do because it had been done for hundreds of years but that we need to remember that 1) just because things have been the same for hundreds of years doesn’t automatically make it right and 2) adults can be wrong too.
People realized just how bad slavery was and in Europe they stopped having people brought over and sold. But, it took a lot longer for the colonies and the country to understand this too. So many of the big farms needed the workers so they could do all the work for them. Then, ask how they’d feel if they had to do work all day every day and never got time off or any money for it. (Trust me, the kids will tell you how they feel about this. ) Then, just reinforce that they’re right that people starting feeling sad about it but the people who still made money from having the enslaved work for them to make their money didn’t want to give that up. And, just like they might argue with their sibling, we had a huge argument the split the whole country apart. And this was the Civil War. But, once the War was over, we made up and cane back together as a country.
But, talking about slavery is hard sometimes because nobody likes to remember the bad things they did to someone else. And, we need to make ourselves to talk about it so we can make sure that it won’t ever happen again.
Then, open up for their questions.
There’s a fine line between showing how horrible slavery was and giving a second grader nightmares. You don’t want to brush it aside, but you need to know the students a little bit to know how far to go with the subject. I usually ask the teachers in the groups before I start what they have previously discussed so I know where to go.

But, yeah, it’s a difficult thing to talk about but I believe it’s far worse not to talk about it. You know? Hope what I rambled on about answered your question and made sense too.
Thank you for your kind reply.
 

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
Here is a list of the Board of Visitors:

BOV Members​

Board of Visitors Members
John William Boland '73
Richmond, Virginia
Lara Tyler Chambers ’03
Manakin-Sabot, Virginia
Lt. Gen. Charles E. Dominy (Ret)
Oakton, Virginia
Hugh M. Fain III ’80
Richmond, Virginia
Conrad M. Hall '65
Norfolk, Virginia
Michael L. Hamlar
Roanoke, Virginia
Richard K. Hines, V '66
Atlanta, Georgia
Lester Johnson, Jr. '95
Richmond, Virginia
Scot W. Marsh '81
Winchester, Virginia
David L. Miller ‘70
Brentwood, Tennessee
Honorable Joe R. Reeder
Alexandria, Virginia
Gene Scott '80
Richmond, Virginia
Thomas R. “Tom” Watjen '76
Key Largo, Florida
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams
Hanover, Virginia
Lt. Gen. Frances C. Wilson, EdD, USMC (Ret)
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Anyone know why these especially older alumni-board members would entertain such beliefs? Are they political cronys of the Governor?
What the opera don’t tell you is that 2 of the board members resigned in protest rather than vote on the forced removal order of the Governor to rid VMI of her history. If you read the WPO, it says a “unanimous vote”.....not quite!!!!
 

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
I frequently see the statement that these statues cause pain and then, the remedy is to remove or destroy the memorials. By doing this you supposedly have relieved the pain of the aggrieved group. However, now you have inflicted pain and sadness on another group of people. Out of all this, the lasting effect is mutual contempt by both sides.
Great points!
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
This movement is so distressing. VMI ? Really ?

My John Winn's sister married a New Market cadet (well, not while he was a cadet) and one of John's aunts was married to one of the town founders who built some of the buildings on campus (and whose house still stands just on the edge of campus). The builder guy attended the same church as the Jacksons and was good friends with the superintendent and so knew Jackson. I'm so happy I got to see things before all the removals and renaming.

This isn't just a short-term trend. I think a lot of places and institutions are afraid of potentially violent minorities and so are just jumping on the removal bandwagon as some sort of insurance. Many seem to think violence is now a legitimate form of political or social action. Curiously (to me anyway) many who at one time seemed to stand for tolerance are now the very image of intolerance. One either agrees with everything they do or one is evil and the enemy (who it's legitimate to attack physically). It's out of control.

Oh yeah, let's just defund the police and let people take over entire blocks of downtown. That's a dismal picture of where things are going.
 

jcaesar

Private
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
This movement is so distressing. VMI ? Really ?

My John Winn's sister married a New Market cadet (well, not while he was a cadet) and one of John's aunts was married to one of the town founders who built some of the buildings on campus (and whose house still stands just on the edge of campus). The builder guy attended the same church as the Jacksons and was good friends with the superintendent and so knew Jackson. I'm so happy I got to see things before all the removals and renaming.

This isn't just a short-term trend. I think a lot of places and institutions are afraid of potentially violent minorities and so are just jumping on the removal bandwagon as some sort of insurance. Many seem to think violence is now a legitimate form of political or social action. Curiously (to me anyway) many who at one time seemed to stand for tolerance are now the very image of intolerance. One either agrees with everything they do or one is evil and the enemy (who it's legitimate to attack physically). It's out of control.

Oh yeah, let's just defund the police and let people take over entire blocks of downtown. That's a dismal picture of where things are going.

In this case it was a major newspaper owned by a multi-billionaire that instigated this helped on by a well known former VMI cadet who opened up an investigation into the school to force them to make the decision. But, yes on the tolerance question its been weaponized by those claiming they are the purveyors what it means.
 

Dave D

Private
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Over time and through the generations since WWII there has been a change in how people tolerate and respect the opinions of others. I don’t know when I first learned the lesson that “everybody was entitled to their opinion or belief even if you disagreed with them”. It would not have been very important concept for me until I reached an age where I developed opinions that conflicted with others – probably early adolescence in the 1960s. But, I recall that once I was aware of this tenet, it seemed to be repeated and reinforced regularly as I matured. I think it was actually considered a rather enlightened and liberal ethic back then

Now, there are significant cadres within recent generations that very clearly do not hold with this thinking; moreover, they resent and castigate anyone with whom they disagree – very often, violently.

I’m trying to think of when and how this transition in tolerance occurred. It seems to have coincided with a general decline in parental discipline of children over the years. My theory is that the kids that didn’t get a good swat on the butt when they got out of line decided that they could get whatever they wanted by aggressive, angry threats. So now, these kids have grown into the intolerant, self-centered anarchists of today who storm about destroying symbols they dislike and attacking people with whom they don't agree.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
Over time and through the generations since WWII there has been a change in how people tolerate and respect the opinions of others. I don’t know when I first learned the lesson that “everybody was entitled to their opinion or belief even if you disagreed with them”. It would not have been very important concept for me until I reached an age where I developed opinions that conflicted with others – probably early adolescence in the 1960s. But, I recall that once I was aware of this tenet, it seemed to be repeated and reinforced regularly as I matured. I think it was actually considered a rather enlightened and liberal ethic back then

Now, there are significant cadres within recent generations that very clearly do not hold with this thinking; moreover, they resent and castigate anyone with whom they disagree – very often, violently.

I’m trying to think of when and how this transition in tolerance occurred. It seems to have coincided with a general decline in parental discipline of children over the years. My theory is that the kids that didn’t get a good swat on the butt when they got out of line decided that they could get whatever they wanted by aggressive, angry threats. So now, these kids have grown into the intolerant, self-centered anarchists of today who storm about destroying symbols they dislike and attacking people with whom they don't agree.
Not to sound negative, but one of my friends calls wealthy college aged or just out of school kids who don’t have to worry about making rent or working “trustafarians.” They seem to latch onto causes but don’t seem to fully grasp them. Case in point of a monument of Grant being torn down by those against the concept of the enslaved. I give them props for being against enslavement, but it’d go a long way if they could realize Grant was on “their side.”
 

Chamberson

Cadet
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
It has been decided. Jackson statue is being removed. Jackson Memorial Hall will eventually be renamed as will all buildings named for confederates (over half of VMIs buildings)


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I can certainly understand this decision and having visited several times I did think it was not reasonable to demand all freshmen, including minority students, salute the statue. There is a small museum on campus and I would have thought that the statue could be moved to there and the requirement to salute it be eliminated. But since VMI has the New Market museum perhaps there is more space at that site and it works better there. I think that museum covers more than just the New Market battle, so I don't think that the battle itself occurring in 1864 after Jackson was dead is a problem. As for renaming the halls, that also seems appropriate to me.
 

Irishdragoon

Cadet
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
*EDIT* I feel the statues of Jackson should stay with this inscription below each: "Jackson gave his left arm and his life for what he believed. What have you given for what you believe?"
 
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James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
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East Texas
Maybe they can replace the statue of the slave-owning Jackson with that of a truly great contemporary Virginian of his - David Hunter!
 

Georgia

Sergeant
In this case it was a major newspaper owned by a multi-billionaire that instigated this helped on by a well known former VMI cadet who opened up an investigation into the school to force them to make the decision. But, yes on the tolerance question its been weaponized by those claiming they are the purveyors what it means.
When determining the reasoning for events that I don’t see a clear logical situation for, my husband says, “follow the money.”
He believes that most of not all of the times such situations are present, there seems to also be a direct correlation to a financial situation at the root.

In this case, I could see decreased alumni donations, reduced applications, loss of revenues and possibly large donations for buildings and infrastructure being withheld because of what could be perceived as an non politically correct stance.

Of course the same can be said of those who appreciate the historical components of VMI and what that history means to so many.

But, it wouldn’t shock me to later learn it came down to financial reasons. And, it’s a real shame that money can be the evil it tends to be.
 
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Dave DuBrucq

Corporal
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Location
Tennessee
It has been decided. Jackson statue is being removed. Jackson Memorial Hall will eventually be renamed as will all buildings named for confederates (over half of VMIs buildings)


View attachment 380229
How very, very sad. Political correctness run amok. Perhaps the statue could be donated or sold to a preservation group to place on private property. I would be more than happy to contribute to such an effort.
 

FPT

Private
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Here is a list of the Board of Visitors:

BOV Members​

Board of Visitors Members
John William Boland '73
Richmond, Virginia
Lara Tyler Chambers ’03
Manakin-Sabot, Virginia
Lt. Gen. Charles E. Dominy (Ret)
Oakton, Virginia
Hugh M. Fain III ’80
Richmond, Virginia
Conrad M. Hall '65
Norfolk, Virginia
Michael L. Hamlar
Roanoke, Virginia
Richard K. Hines, V '66
Atlanta, Georgia
Lester Johnson, Jr. '95
Richmond, Virginia
Scot W. Marsh '81
Winchester, Virginia
David L. Miller ‘70
Brentwood, Tennessee
Honorable Joe R. Reeder
Alexandria, Virginia
Gene Scott '80
Richmond, Virginia
Thomas R. “Tom” Watjen '76
Key Largo, Florida
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams
Hanover, Virginia
Lt. Gen. Frances C. Wilson, EdD, USMC (Ret)
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Anyone know why these especially older alumni-board members would entertain such beliefs? Are they political cronys of the Governor?
I am sure that this board like most of its kind are not there to do much more than grip and grin, fund raise, rubber stamp what is put in front of them and collect the stipend check (thank gawd for direct deposit...)
 

JKT

Private
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
I am glad I had the opportunity to visit the campuses of VMI and Washington & Lee before all this erasing of history began.
And this is what “trendy” anarchists (& those who cow down to them) do. Confederate memorials are just the low hanging PC fruit, because by extension no American history is safe. Don’t get me started. Of course, the “chiseling” away of Mt. Rushmore is gonna be more problematic, but this is what totalitarian regimes try to do. Erase all history; indoctrinate the younger generation (been to a leftist college campus lately?); and eventually self-destruct. Easy be a “Monday morning QB” from 160 year old vantage point.
 
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