Shad Plank: An emotional vote to let localities decide on Confederate monuments

The first time she tried to speak up about Confederate monuments, the tears came and her voice choked, so state Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, had to sit down.

Her friend and colleague, Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, stepped up then, to remind the Senators how painful and potent those memorials to the Lost Cause were. Most, she noted, were erected decades after the Civil War as Virginia enacted its Jim Crow laws or, even later, protested the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ordering an end to segregated schools.

“If we’re ever going to heal … we’re going to have to talk about it,” McClellan said. “Because when you don’t talk about trauma, it doesn’t go away.”