Letter: Civil War monument should be corrected

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Editor of the Reformer,

I commend the Brattleboro Historical Society for its efforts in seeking, interpreting and displaying knowledge about the contributions of African Americans who served in the U.S. Army or Navy after enlisting in Brattleboro during the Civil War. It is also especially impressive that the Society involved students at Brattleboro Middle School (and their teachers) in this research process that surely taught students much more than research skills.

As an African American and a fairly new resident to Vermont, I am gratified by the Society's desire to correct the plaque at the site of the Brattleboro Monument, and I believe the plaque should be replaced with one correctly identifying the contributions of all who served. Replacing the plaque with historically accurate information would be a justice too long and too often denied African Americans in our country. Since they were first forced to this land, African Americans have been thought of by many as less than others; they have been discriminated against and despised in what became their homeland. Yet, African Americans have contributed so much to the building, development, culture and security of this country. So, to be invisible, unnamed, unacknowledged for their sacrifices and contributions, especially when others are named, credited and heralded, is an additional travesty.

It may seem to some to be a small consequence to leave the plaque as it is on the Brattleboro Monument. But truth, justice and honor require that the official records be corrected, that the stories be re-framed to reflect the courage, commitment and contributions of all who served, fought and/or died after enlisting in Brattleboro. At a time in our history when truth is assaulted or hidden by those whose duty it is to uphold truth, it is especially important now to give credit where it is due. Thanks to the Brattleboro Historical Society for its efforts to honor truth and to honor those so long forgotten or never known.

Wylene Branton Wood

Westminster, Jan. 9



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