As the removal of Confederate monuments continues in Louisiana, Oklahoman Arlene Barnum drove hours to make sure Jefferson Davis’ legacy lives on. The brave woman didn’t go unnoticed by those who celebrate the rich heritage of the Southern states, and Arlene’s courage in the face of the monument’s removal was astonishing. Arlene’s actions are earning her various labels from “racist” to the heroine of the South.
Arlene is originally from Desoto Parish and her trip to Louisiana this week made for an interesting and bold display as the state attempts to tear down monuments from American history. If you drove down Jeff Davis Parkway or Canal Street near the monument, you likely saw Arlene Barnum standing in front of Jefferson Davis, wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt and waving a large Confederate flag. ABC News reported that Arlene was simply trying to make sure “Jefferson Davis lives to see another day.”
Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States of America for the short time they broke free from the United States. The cause of this desire to form another country caused the Civil War. Arlene was visiting north Louisiana this week when she heard about the Liberty Place monument coming down overnight in secrecy while heavily guarded. Like many in New Orleans and around the country, Arlene has strong opinions on the Confederate monument controversy. But, unlike many black people, Arlene wants the monuments to stay.
“I felt I needed to be at the (monument) for Jefferson Davis because he was the one and only president of the Confederate States of America,” she explains. “He’s the most significant of all the monuments to be taken down.”
Of course, not everyone agreed. Arlene has been called many names because of her support of the monuments.
Arlene says her race has nothing to do with her support of the Confederacy. While the city said that the remaining three Confederate monuments — Jefferson Davis at Jeff Davis Parkway and Canal Street, P.G.T. Beauregard on Esplanade Avenue at the City Park entrance, and the iconic Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle — will still come down, the cowardly officials will not give details on how or when it will happen, citing safety concerns.
Arlene has shown how to peacefully protest the removal of the history of the Civil War. “It’s about being on the right side of history,” she says. Removing Confederate monuments does not change history. It doesn’t take away any of the deaths of the Civil War or change the fact that slavery was a dark spot in American history, and it will never undo any of the heartache caused by brothers being forced to fight each other during a war which killed hundreds of thousands.
History itself is not offensive. Monuments aren’t offensive. They are teaching moments, not situations to be eradicated and lied about. The fact that a large number of humans have conveniently forgotten how horrific communism and fascism are is the reason why boneheads like Bernie Sanders even had a platform. He should have been laughed into the history books for suggesting making us wage slaves. Sanders is the perfect example as to why we should know our history. All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.