Letters: Building a better South

BY DWAYNE WALLS, JR., Pittsboro
Posted 12/27/19

to the editor:

I grew up here. I left Chatham County when I graduated from Northwood to make my way through the wider world, and have since returned home to be closer to family. I have been all …

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Letters: Building a better South

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Posted

to the editor:

I grew up here. I left Chatham County when I graduated from Northwood to make my way through the wider world, and have since returned home to be closer to family. I have been all over this great land of ours where the people have lived together in relative peace if not perfect harmony in the 150 years since the end of the American Civil War. Our imperfect union makes me proud to be an American.

These people waving rebel flags in Pittsboro do not make me proud. The Confederate battle flag is the chosen flag of the bigot and the racist, and as such, a flag of hate. These atavistic people look backward longingly for answers to questions their ancestors never could have imagined. By swearing allegiance to the vile, bankrupt notions of 150 years ago, they betray all hope for a better Chatham County. And while they talk a lot about heritage, they have nothing to contribute to our future but the worst part of our past.

With Chatham Park and its attendant infrastructure erupting all around us, we here in Pittsboro need to decide now what we will become in the shadow of this massive development. Our town could enjoy a reputation as a genuine destination, and local residents stand to reap the benefits from an absolute avalanche of development. The other side of the coin is that Pittsboro could become an island of backwardness to be avoided at all costs: Chatham Park’s slum.

I am fortunate to have a picture of one of my Confederate ancestors. Not many Southerners do, as photography was prohibitively expensive to most Southerners in the 1800s. The photograph was taken from his front left, so the right half of his face is mostly hidden. In the sepia-toned facsimile, I can see one eyelid droops lower than the other. His visible cheek is streaked with pockmarks where Union shell fragments ripped into his face at the Battle of Seven Pines. He wanted a better South, and did his duty as he saw it. I humbly suggest all-inclusive war memorials might be appropriate replacements for the bronze soldiers and marble men all across our region.

But the best way to honor the memory of our Confederate ancestors is to build a better South.

Dwayne Walls Jr.

Pittsboro

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