Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia—the city where I and my family live— announced that it will take take down a memorial plaque marking the pew where Washington sat with his family.
“The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,” church leaders said. “Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques. Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of ‘all are welcome- no exceptions.”
The unspoken but implied rationale is that George Washington was a slave-holder, and that this outweighs everything else. Never mind that the entire white population when he was alive believed that blacks were a lower breed of human. Never mind that it would have been literally impossible to grow up in agrarian, slavery dominated Virginia as a member of the plantation class without embracing slavery. Never mind that Washington continued to ponder the injustice of the practice, and eventually decided never again to buy or sell another slave while advocating slavery’s eventual abolition. In his will, Washington left directions for the emancipation after Martha Washington’s death, of all the slaves who belonged to him. Never mind that.
Never mind that without George Washington’s courage, leadership, aversion to excessive power and astonishing charisma and trustworthiness, there would be no United States of America. Continue reading