The American Historical Association weighed in on moves to tear down monuments to the Confederacy, saying that removing monuments does not erase history.
"A monument is not history itself; a monument commemorates an aspect of history, representing a moment in the past when a public or private decision defined who would be honored in a community's public spaces," according to the association's statement.
"To remove a monument, or to change the name of a school or street, is not to erase history, but rather to alter or call attention to a previous interpretation of history," the association continued.
The association credited President Donald Trump, who tweeted Aug. 16 "you can't change history, but you can learn from it."
"Understanding the specific historical context of Confederate monuments in America is imperative to informed public debate," the association noted, adding Confederate monuments placed in the early 20th century were "intended, in part . . . to intimidate African-Americans politically and isolate them from the mainstream of public life."
The association said it recommended there was no democratic process in deciding about the monuments to the Confederate leaders.
"African-Americans had no voice and no opportunity to raise questions about the purposes or likely impact of the honor accorded to the builders of the Confederate States of America," the group wrote in its statement.
"The American Historical Association recommends that it's time to reconsider these decisions," the statement read.
Some cities have removed or have plans to remove statues of Confederate historical figures from public spaces, The New York Times reported, responding in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in one death.
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