The adage holds that history is written by the victors, but, as the masked, bulletproof-vested municipal workers who assembled in New Orleans at three o'clock in the morning on Confederate Memorial Day might attest, the most indelible version of the American past was authored by those who lost the Civil War. The workers were there to remove an obelisk dedicated to the Crescent City White League and the Battle of Liberty Place, in 1874. Clashes over American history are typically fought with duelling sets of footnotes and the subjective shade of historiographic essays. This one, which involved death threats issued to the mayor and the contractors bidding on the project, risked being fought using tools with considerably higher stopping power. Four monuments in all, including those memorializing Robert E. Lee, P. G. T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis, were slated to be removed, and on Sunday protests and counter-protests broke out over the removal.
May-12-2017, 19:35:03 GMT