Twitter erupted this week at a video of a controversial Georgia congresswoman touting the idea that Black people should be proud when they see statues of Confederate leaders.
The elected official says these markers should remind African Americans of how far their people have come.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene released a video on social media with her thoughts about removing Confederate monuments and statues, stating that because they are historical, they have value.
The Patriot Takes Twitter account reposted the clip and within days received millions of views.
“We don’t want our statues taken down in our country. I don’t think you remove or erase history. So, I do agree those statues shouldn’t be taken down,” she said.
Taylor Greene argued that those statues, erected mostly in the early 1900s, after Southern states enacted segregation and pushed a variety of Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise Black Americans, have historical relevance.
Greene said, “They’re part of our history. We should learn from our history. We don’t erase it.”
She also argued that her desire to preserve the statues is about preserving history and does not make her a racist.
However, Karen Cox, a historian, University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor and author of numerous articles and books on Southern history and culture, including “Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture,” states that the people who commissioned the statues had no intention of preserving history, but reshaping it.
“The UDC was very focused on the future. Their goal, in all the work that they did, was to prepare future generations of white Southerners to respect and defend the principles of the Confederacy,” Cox shared with FiveThirtyEight.
Another wave of these statues being built coincided with the emergence of the Blacks forming organizations like the NAACP, Blacks being allowed to fight in the military, the emergence of civil rights advocacy, and a public outcry against lynching in the American South.
Jane Dailey, professor of American history at the University of Chicago, said, “You have Black soldiers who have just fought for their country [in World War I] and fought to make the world safe for democracy, coming back to an America that’s determined to lynch them. Those were very clearly white supremacist monuments and are designed to intimidate, not just memorialize.”
Rep. Greene offers that the statues should do the exact opposite. In her video, she says, “If I were Black people today and I walked by one of those statues, I would be so proud because I’d say look how far I have come in this country. Look how far my people have [come and] what they have overcome. “
Many African-Americans on Twitter took offense to her statement.
Anthony V. Clark responded, “If I were white people today and I walked by Black history being taught in a classroom, I would be so proud because I’d say look how far I have come in this country.”
Rep. Christopher Benjamin, State Rep. for District 107 in Miami, Florida, tweeted, “you are incredibly tone deaf if you think that Blacks look upon the heroes of a Confederate that sought to keep us in chains with anything other than contempt and disdain (as we should).”
Jason R. Moore, an actor, tweeted, “Black people don’t need statues of racist white men to reminded of the American history. Enough of those in the halls of congress and on police forces today.”
Comedian Rick G. Rosner offered some perspective, writing, “That’s why Germany has all those Hitler statues. (Germany doesn’t, obv.)”
Greene’s support of the Civil War statues may seem shocking, but seem to be a part of her separatist political ideology. She believes the country should participate in a “national divorce,” where the country is split into “red” Republican states and “blue” Democratic states.
On Monday, Feb. 20, she tweeted, “We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government.”
Adding, “Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”
Many who replied to the tweet questioned who the congresswoman was calling a “traitor,” noting she has proposed a divide like Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee did in the mid-1800s.
Former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson replied, “Did she just call for Civil War? Does she know what happened the last time a few states said they wanted to leave?”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, six states across the South have enacted laws to protect memorials to those who fought for the Confederacy from being removed, renamed, or destroyed.
Since 2015, the SPLC has identified 377 Confederate memorials that have been removed. The organization notes that 2,089 Confederacy memorials still stand in the United States.
Kimberly Probolus, ACLS Leading Edge Fellow at the SPLC and author of the new edition of “Whose Heritage?” says, “Our data clearly shows that in states without preservation laws, it’s easier for communities to remove Confederate memorials.”
“The states with the most removals, relocations and renamings are Virginia , Texas , Florida  and North Carolina ,” she continues. “States with preservation laws — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — have less success.”