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As Confederate statues come down, a retired soldier on how he broke up with the lost cause

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Nancy L. Ford

Monday, Nov. 1, 2021

This summer and fall, statues of Robert E. Lee have been removed from public display in Virginia. They join an increasing number of symbols of the Confederacy that have fallen as the nation takes a cold, hard look at its past.

That past is bathed in myth, which has led legions of Southerners to see Lee, Jackson, Jefferson Davis and others as heroes fighting for a way of life and for state’s rights.

Our guest today once fell into that camp. Today, he sees those men as traitors and the "lost cause" for which they fought as nothing more than an attempt to prolong slavery.

This conversation originally aired July 13, 2021.


Ty Seidule, retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army and professor emeritus of history at West Point. Author of "Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause." He is a professor of history and Chamberlain Fellow at Hamilton College.

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.