Don’t erase history: Teach from it!

This letter addresses an article published in The Free Lance-Star on Feb. 8 ["Memphis City Council deals blow to Confederacy"] about why the City Council has voted to rename Forrest Park in Memphis.

Forrest Park was named for Confederate cavalry fighter Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. A large monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest towers above the Memphis park. To many, this was just too much salt in the wound and they wanted Forrest Park to be renamed. Forrest Park glorifies a slave trader and a Ku Klux Klan member of the Old South.

I have spent a great deal of time doing genealogical work. It always intrigues me when I meet people who ask about matters of genealogy: "Why in the world are you interested in that? You might find out something that you don’t want to know."

Like many Americans, my ancestors fought in the early Colonial Indian wars, French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the American Civil War. I have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Do we really want to redo history by rewriting it or deleting the "callous" stuff?

Washington and Jefferson, our revered Founding Fathers, were slave holders. Nothing anyone does with that history will change that fact. History (the good and the bad) affords valuable teachable moments. Remember: "Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it" (credited to 18th-century philosopher Edmund Burke).

Brenda Hamilton Hynson
King George