by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
In many ways we are still caught up in a War which we are taught ended in 1865. Lies piled on evasions prevent our healing.
Each human soul caught in the maelstrom of the War to Uphold the Constitution suffered hideously. Southern families suffered through Reconstruction, forced to rebuild their lives and economy from ground zero. Their suffering was generations in length, resting on the grievous loss of people they loved. Blacks in the South suffered from the misdirected rage of a people who had lost everything. No divisions were ended through War.
The pain of both white and black Southerners was wide and deep, remaining with us to this day.
For reconciliation to take place there must be healing, and only in the truth can that be found.
Dr. King once said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” He was a man who loved the truth, and the whole of humanity, rejecting hate. He willingly placed his life in jeopardy for his people. His birthday is January 15th, but will be celebrated on the 18th this year.
January 19th is the birthday for General Robert E. Lee. Ten years before the War he freed his slaves, many remained on the plantation. His body servant, William Mack, remained with him until Lee died. General Lee left Mack a legacy, allowing him to attend school and become a minister.
Lee did not approve of slavery. He understood the War originated from the issue of self-governance. He stood with his native state.
Lee and King were men of different eras with much in common. Devout Christians, both were willing to lay down their lives for their people. Both withheld judgment of others, seeking always the path marked out for them by the Savior they both worshiped. For each the truth was essential.
Dr. King - “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
General Lee - “You must study to be frank with the world: frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted that you mean to do right.”
Honor them both.