People gather around a Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, this month.

Honoring the unforgivable

Updated 10:42 AM ET, Wed June 17, 2020

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(CNN)To many, these are not matters for debate.

If historical figures embraced hate or violence, it doesn't matter that they were great singers, innovators or wartime strategists, nor that they had changes of heart later in life.
"In many cases, preserving history was not the true goal of these displays," former Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen said of the center's 2016 report that found at least 1,500 US government-backed tributes to the Confederacy.
"Rather, many of them were part of an effort to glorify a cause that was manifestly unjust -- a cause that has been whitewashed by revisionist propaganda that began almost as soon as the Civil War ended. Other displays were intended as acts of defiance by white supremacists opposed to equality for African Americans during the civil rights movement."
To say the hate or violence was a product of the times may sound fair, but protesters today are products of theirs. Cancel culture, with its shortcomings, insists that Christopher Columbus was no explorer but rather the most brutal of colonizers, and Robert Lee was no general; he was a slave-owning traitor who led thousands to their deaths in a rebellion to defend the subjugation of blacks.
Here are some other unforgivable acts:

George Preston Marshall