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Prof. Grossman: Our Understanding of American History Does Not Require the Glorification of Its Evils


August 22, 2017
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In an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, Steven P. Grossman, the Dean Julius Isaacson Professor in the University of Baltimore School of Law, writes that the ongoing controversy over statues depicting Confederate soldiers and politicians reveals a weakness in American thinking about the lessons of history—a problem that the people of Germany seem to have rectified to the satisfaction of their culture and nation.

"What you don't see in Germany are streets named after Adolph Hitler—as opposed to the many Jefferson Davis Drives in the southern U.S.—or lofty monuments to Field Marshall Erwin Rommel nobly peering out from the turret of one of the Panzer tanks he commanded," Grossman writes. "Somehow Germans manage to both remember and learn from their history without such symbols."

Grossman asserts that Confederate-era monuments were not intended to convey history, but rather to glorify those who rebelled against the United States, promoted slavery or otherwise engaged in abhorrent behavior.

"[A]llow me to say this to the folks who defend these monuments, but are not racists (and yes I think there are some of those). Evil aspects of a nation's history must—and can—be remembered without being glorified," Grossman writes.

Read the op-ed.

Learn more about Prof. Grossman.

 

Last Published 6/9/16