Confederate icon talk draws packed crowd at JMU

Crowd members were able to ask speakers questions at the conclusion of speeches.
Crowd members were able to ask speakers questions at the conclusion of speeches.(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 28, 2018 at 5:32 PM EDT
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As the debate over the name of Robert E. Lee High School continues, more than one hundred people listened to a discussion of Confederate icons on Saturday at James Madison University. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation brought together speakers to discuss how Confederate history is treated.

Christy Coleman, one of the speakers and the CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, emphasized the nuances of the conversation.

"You can't look at something and say, 'hey, I see a circle, and these are the dimensions of it and that's that,'" Coleman said, " — without taking the time to pivot it and you realize you're actually holding a sphere."

Coleman said no matter what one person's understanding is, she thinks a statue's future should come down to individual communities.

"Each community needs to make these choices for themselves," Coleman said. "The truth of the matter is they were put up by communities, for a variety of reasons. I think communities should determine what their fate is moving forward."

The organization which hosted the conference works to preserve land in the Shenandoah Valley significant during the Civil War.

In addition to Coleman, speakers included John Corski, a historian, Caroline Janney, a professor of the American Civil War and Keven Walker, the CEO of SVBF.