"What's past is prologue."
Those words from William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" are illustrative of how the past can influence the present. Although the meaning of the phrase has evolved from its original context in the bard's play, its contemporary use suggests that events of the past not only influence the present, but also chart the future.
What is shaping the present-day city is the existence of a 110-year old Confederate statue, forcing city residents to consider whether its symbolism represents the honorific or the horrific.
When it was dedicated on June 3, 1911, The Journal And Banner, which was then the nameplate of what would later be known as the Cleveland Daily Banner, covered the ceremony, which included speeches by three individuals of note.
All three were white men. Judging from photos taken at the ceremony, which took place during the Jim Crow era, all the attendees of the ceremony were also white.
Those speaking at the ceremony were then-Mayor Charles S. Mayfield, a man identified as "Col. Henderson" and Dr. David Sullins. The text from that edition of The Journal And Banner is being reprinted in today's edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. It is unedited and published verbatim as newspaper followers read it on that date. That original version of the newspaper's coverage can be found below starting on this page and continuing to Page 9 and Page 10.
The article was accessed via an image on microfilm. Some words were not legible. As a result, they are indicated by blank spaces in today's reprint.
The article's value as a primary-source document is that it offers a glimpse of Cleveland during the early 20th century.
Mayfield was the first to speak.
“This monument is not erected in malice or in anger and nothing connected with it is meant as a reflection on the honor, bravery or heroism of any soldier of the North. It is erected in tearful memory and loving gratitude to our fathers," he said.
Dr. David Sullins said the effort to construct the monument was in remembrance of "the courage, the heroism and the gentleness of the fathers, brothers and sweethearts of the Southern army."
“We don’t want to offend anyone,” Sullins said. “Our soldiers were good and true men — good fathers, good brothers, good sons — was there nothing in their lives that we should cherish? When these boys kissed their mothers and sisters, wives and sweethearts good bye they went to fight for their homes and rights as they saw the issues from their point of view and in doing so they displayed real courage, true devotion and patriotism and now today we want to unveil this monument to them and commemorate their good qualities — that’s all.”
One speaker, Col. Henderson, did speak "of the evil effects of slavery upon the South."
“It was an incubus upon the South, wrong in morals, wrong in intellect and wrong in business," he said. "The South really won, because we’ve made more out of this war than the North. We’re growing great and we’re glad we’re done with slavery."
A predecessor version of the Cleveland Daily Banner has published continually since 1854, with the exception of a period of six months during the Civil War. It is the longest-running newspaper in Bradley County and one of the oldest newspapers in the state.
The microfilm from which the content of The Journal And Banner's coverage was accessed was prepared by the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The Cleveland Bradley Public Library's History Branch & Archives serves as a repository for this film.
In 1906, The Journal And Banner was the result of the merger of two Cleveland newspapers, the Cleveland Banner and the Cleveland Journal, later publishing as the Cleveland Banner in 1916. Since the 1920s, this newspaper has published under the name of the Cleveland Daily Banner.