AL.com columnist Cameron Smith interviewed Alabama native and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about growing up in Birmingham during the civil rights era and asked for her comments on the recent removal of Confederate statues around the south. Rice explained that she did not approve of "whitewashing history."
Smith said some people argue that the monuments are heritage while others view them as hurtful.
"My view is that it's actually not our heritage, it's our history," Rice said. "We as a people have, thankfully, moved on."
“But if you forget your history, then you are likely to repeat it,” she added.
Rice said monuments should serve as a reminder to what happened in our nation’s past and shouldn’t be removed:
“I, myself, am not much for whitewashing history. I don’t like the renamings. I don’t like the taking down the various monuments.”
However, Rice did say she agreed with Gov. Nikki Haley removing the Confederate flag from the capitol building in South Carolina.
“That was the battle flag of the defeated Confederacy. That’s a different matter,” she said. “But these historical figures — we need to remember who they are, what they stood for, and why we’ve moved on.”
Rice has a new book called Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom which celebrates self-government and America’s fight for freedom.