As archivists, there is nothing we take more seriously than preserving history. The history of our state and its people is not found in statues erected to celebrate people and lost causes, but in the brittle paper of bills of sale for enslaved persons, in the diaries and letters of both enslavers and abolitionists, in the memorabilia of civil rights leaders, and in the protest signs of 2020. History is in our state’s archives and libraries, not on the courthouse lawn. History is not in what we choose to glorify in stone but in the records left behind by the people who lived it. For too long, many histories were erased in favor of a vision of white supremacy. As our state lowers its flag with its Confederate symbolism, there is still much more work to be done.
We support calls to remove Confederate monuments from our public spaces. They do not teach history; rather, they represent a false narrative that distorts the truth of racial injustice in this country.
The Board of the Society of Mississippi Archivists
(See also: SMA’s statement on Black Lives and Archives – June 3, 2020)