In the long, hard slog in the march to freedom — Bacon’s Rebellion (the original one), the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the struggle against Jim Crow and massive resistance — there has never been a monument erected to honor Virginia’s leaders of the Civil Rights movement. That’s about to change. Renderings were unveiled Monday for a granite monument commemorating the struggle to integrate public schools in the 1950s and ’ 60s. (See the Virginian-Pilot article.)

The privately funded, $2.8 million memorial will depict students in the 1951 walk out at Robert Russa Moton High School, in Farmville; the Rev. L. Francis Griffin, a Farmville civil rights activist; and civil rights lawyers Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill, who led the legal fight.

Many observers are hyper-critical of the early Virginians who failed to live up to the sensibilities of the 21st century, as if democracy and equal rights should have emerged, like the virgin birth, pure and unsullied from the monarchical, superstition-drenched and tribal mentality of early 17th century Europe. It is vital to remember that democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and property rights emerged only after centuries of conflict, and cannot be taken forgranted. Virginians need to honor all the heroes who helped create our modern-day institutions, which, however imperfect, are the least imperfect yet devised by mankind.

Now that we’ve given the Civil Rights heroes their due, maybe it’s time to set up a statue for Nathaniel Bacon who in 1676 championed the rights of free-born Englishman against an overweening monarchy!

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6 responses to “About Time”

  1. Tom James Avatar
    Tom James

    Mr. Bacon has such a monument.

    Bacon’s Castle in Surry County.

    It is also the oldest “English” built brick structure in America. 1650’s I believe?

    It is worth the trip to Surry, along with a stop at Fort Smith Plantation and the “Surry Inn” for lunch.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    But Tom, Nathaniel Bacon never set foot there. We need a statue. Of course, we don’t know what Bacon looked like. I would happily volunteer as a stand-in!

  3. Tom James Avatar
    Tom James

    It was my understanding Bacon’s Castle was his hideout for 4 months and then he died of disease elsewhere on the run. His body was hidden and to this day no one knows the where abouts.

    Am I wrong?

  4. Tom James Avatar
    Tom James

    I just read the account of events at the APVA site. The person who gave the tour may have told me different or I misunderstood.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    This is great to make a monument to celebrate the victory of the Civil Rights Movement as a victory for all Virginians.

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