Thank you so much for speaking this truth! I spent my life with an identity as Northern as you can get — my family tends to think of itself as Northern Minnesotan Finnish folk.
Then, I got married to a very Southern man. From his charming mother, Delilah, who couldn’t be more the picture of a Southern woman to his gentile father, I was steeped in Southern culture. Fortunately, they are an educated Southern family, so they think of Harper Lee and Howard Zinn as something of personal heroes.
They come from the worst of the slaveowners and lynchers. My husband’s great-grandfather, Henry Stokes, led the lynching of a postmaster and his baby in South Carolina just because the white people in that town could not handle getting their mail from a black man. These people were real assholes. But my husband’s family knows their ancestors don’t deserve honor. They deserve scorn. No monuments, please. It is a relief to me that his family all feels this way.