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Letter: ‘To be free … respects … the freedom of others’

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

As an aging white Virginian, I’m thankful Mathews School Board dropped the “Lee-Jackson” name. Schools named after Confederate generals bring me no solace.

Like “rebel” flags, it’s my heritage. My great-great-granddaddy died an officer under the CSA battle flag, fighting to preserve slavery as his “right.” (Using that word erases horrid violations blacks in America endured.) His father’s “Farm Book” names 47 African-Americans, “hands” (slaves).

A town center monument includes his name. This confounds me, recalling childhood years pledging allegiance to the “Stars and Stripes,” believing “America” embodied “liberty and justice for all.”

Even earlier, my colonial Virginia ancestors Robert “King” Carter, John Tayloe and William Byrd II together owned, “bred” and sold over 2,400 Africans, black and “amalgamated.” Such unchecked power weighs onmy conscience.

I’m not responsible for ancestors’ flaws. But I am responsible to enhance their best ideas—li...

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