Reappropriation Vs. Destruction: Washington National Cathedral

The fight over the Confederate monuments has inaccurately framed as people trying to destroy history and those who wish to destroy it. For an example of the ongoing debate, inside the Washington National Cathedral, which serves as a national church that serves all faiths, rests two stained-glass windows to honor the Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. After church leadership defended the controversial windows for years, they no longer believe that it holds a place within the church walls. Proponents of removing the stain stained-glass windows often found in the minority were ridiculed as destroyers of history. After two years of trying to decide, in an official announcement published by the Washington National Cathedral, church leadership makes known their decision to remove the monument. The church claims the reason for the postponement was that the leadership within the church looked for alternative solutions, primarily through trying to contextualize the windows. The church ultimately claimed that the windows didn’t fit into the national spiritual values which therefore warranted their removal. As per the removal, just as these stained-glass windows are to represent the wounded history of the United States, they are not to be destroyed but to be preserved in a museum. What happened to the stained-glass windows is a precedent that needs to be set and followed. The removal of unwanted Confederate monuments needs not to lead in destruction, but rather a re-appropriation.

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