Historic markers can help us advance

Published 6:10 am Saturday, July 16, 2016

We are happy to report the home of A. Z. Young is getting a marker. We hope other homes of other civic leaders will get similar markers in the future.

Bogalusa’s role in the larger civil rights struggle in Louisiana is remarkable and it is worth remembering.

Historic markers serve not only to honor, but to educate and to inspire. In addition, in recent years the civil rights struggle has inspired big-budget Hollywood movies and books and even tours. In Mississippi, visitors can criss-cross the state exploring the civil rights trail there. While Louisiana does not yet have a set of markers dedicated specifically to the civil rights movement, we do have the African-American Heritage Trail, which attempts to do much the same thing. So far, we only have one Heritage Trail location in Bogalusa — Ebenezer Baptist Church. We hope more will be added soon.

Critics might point out that the struggle for equal opportunities was a dark time for the state and for the region and they would not be wrong. Yet the fact that we have made progress shows plainly that we are better than our history, and we owe it to those leaders who came before us to continue to fight for justice and a better future.

It should be plain enough to anyone who watches the national and state news that we are still dealing with the aftershocks of historic tectonic shifts in culture and politics. Those aftershocks will come, and they will come whether or not we erect any markers to the past.

However, markers can spark dialog and dialog can help heal wounds and perhaps, over time, lessen some of the impact of those aftershocks.

And, among the good reasons for monuments, it is this last possibility that is the best reason yet to celebrate our past.