Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Judge removes portrait of Confederate general and town's namesake, saying it promotes inequality

A judge in southern Virginia announced on Tuesday that he has removed the portrait of a Confederate general from the courthouse in a town named for the general, saying the courthouse has to remain a neutral location, Ben Williams reports for the Martinsville Bulletin. Judge Martin F. Clark Jr. said that on Aug. 19 he removed the portrait of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart from the Patrick County Circuit Court’s room in Stuart (Best Places map).

Clark wrote in a statement: “The courtroom should be a place every litigant and spectator finds fair and utterly neutral. In my estimation, the portrait of a uniformed Confederate general—and a slave owner himself—does not comport with that essential standard.” Clark said it is his "duty as a judge to provide a trial setting that is perceived by all participants as fair, neutral and without so much as a hint of prejudice." He wrote, "Confederate symbols are, simply put, offensive to African-Americans, and this reaction is based on fact and clear, straightforward history.”

Clark wrote: “I’m proud to live in Patrick County, proud to live in the South. I’m proud of our music, our food, our literature, our accomplishments in every possible field, our manners and traditions, our sense of connection with our neighbors, our quiet sacrifices, our grit and courage throughout generations, our savvy and intelligence and the rhythms, feel and strength of this slice of the world. That’s my Southern heritage, and it’s far, far distant from the battlefields of the 1860s." (Read more)

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