Washington Post details Wright State professor’s letter about Confederate memorials

Descendants of Rebel sculptor: Remove Confederate Memorial from Arlington National Cemetery


Judith Ezekiel, visiting professor of women’s studies and African American studies at Wright State

Various descendants of Confederate generals — including those who claim Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson as their ancestors — have called for Rebel monuments and statues to be removed in the aftermath of violence in Charlottesville.

Now a group claiming ancestry from a Confederate veteran named Moses Jacob Ezekiel, who was a renowned sculptor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is asking that one of his most prominent works be taken down. It is the Confederate Memorial, a 32-foot-tall monument that stands in Arlington National Cemetery and is notable for its depiction of Rebel soldiers and two enslaved blacks, including a woman described on the cemetery’s website as a “mammy.”

On Thursday night, The Washington Post published a story about the monument. The group critical of the monument includes nearly two dozen people from the extended Ezekiel family who attached their names to a letter sent to The Post.

The group wrote the letter in light of the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman. She was killed Saturday while taking part in a counter-demonstration, opposing white nationalists who had come to the city to rally in support of a statue of Lee in a public park. Twenty-two people in the Ezekiel family — ages 20 to 90 — from across the country signed the letter calling for the Confederate Memorial’s removal from Arlington.

“We were all horrified at the Nazi and white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville,” said Judith Ezekiel, a visiting professor of women’s studies and African American studies at Wright State University in Ohio.

“All of us agree that monuments to the Confederacy are racist justifications of slavery, of owning people,” she said Friday in a telephone interview. “We wanted to say that although Ezekiel is a relative of ours, we still believe it’s a relic of a racist past.”

Historians say Moses Ezekiel was the first Jewish graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. After he died, he was buried at the foot of the Confederate Memorial.

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com

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