Is Warm Springs' Charm Offensive?
The town of Warm Springs, Virginia has so much going for it - sweeping views of the Allegheny Mountains, healing thermal springs (sadly the historic Jefferson Pools are closed awaiting long overdue restoration), the enchanting Inn at Gristmill Square with its exquisite restaurant and micro pub. One thing that detracts from all of this charm is a Confederate statue of an unknown soldier in front of Bath County Courthouse. Erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1922, this statue is one of more than 50 Confederate monuments on the grounds of courthouses in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Following a flash installation by The Kudzu Project early Sunday morning, the Warms Springs statue joins TKP's Rogues Gallery of vinebombed Confederate monuments. A lone strand of knitted kudzu was left behind.
Virginia's Confederate monuments in front of courthouses are particularly offensive for the message they send about our justice system. Yet the Code of Virginia prevents localities from removing them. It will take a major shift in our thinking, and an amendment to state law, for our charming small towns to demonstrate true "Southern hospitality" by creating an atmosphere that is inclusive and welcoming to all.