Today the city of Richmond, Virginia removed the statue of General A.P. Hill, as well as his headstone / grave marker atop which the statue stood. Tomorrow the city plans to physically dig up Hill’s remains from the ground. The city plans to give the statue and headstone to an African-American history museum.
To say that this is disgraceful and immoral is an understatement. This is just the latest in a series of disgraceful and immoral actions – which I collectively call the Statue Genocide – committed by bigots and bullies who purport to be advancing the values of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance but who are actually accomplishing the exact opposite of this.
The purpose of this post is to remind everyone that A. P. Hill was a real human being. A human being with thoughts, feelings, personality, and opinions. A human being with his own viewpoint, perspective, and story.
Ambrose Powell Hill was born on November 9, 1825 in Culpeper, Virginia. He went by his middle name, Powell, and was nicknamed “Little Powell.” He had 6 older brothers and sisters. He served honorably in the Mexican-American War, Seminole War, and Civil War. During the Seven Days Battles, he was one of Stonewall Jackson’s bravest and most capable subordinates, although the two didn’t get along particularly well. Hill reached the rank of Lieutenant General in the Confederate army. He was known for being friendly and affectionate towards his soldiers and for wearing his famous red hunting shirt during every battle. On April 2, 1865, he was killed in the Battle of Petersburg. He had said that he didn’t wish to live to see the defeat of the Confederacy, and he got his wish.
Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond, doesn’t care about any of that. He doesn’t care about A.P. Hill, or any of the remarkable historical figures whose souls he murdered. He doesn’t care about their lives or their stories. He doesn’t care about other people’s thoughts, feelings, viewpoints, or perspectives. Levar Stoney only cares about people who look and think like him.
This makes him far more bigoted than anyone who fought for the Confederacy, and without even a fraction of their courage. He uses his power to beat up on those who are already hurting, to stomp on those who are already marginalized, and to cruelly insult those who are already unpopular. All while claiming, preposterously, that people like him are oppressed and disadvantaged. To Levar Stoney, the only feelings and the only perspectives that matter are his own.