We Cannot Rewrite History


We Cannot Rewrite History 

To the Editor: 

In response to both Sam Cabot's and Sheila Hill's comments, I suggest that it is impossible to rewrite history.  Things have taken place over time that are horrendous and unthinkable today, but they existed.  Should Elizabeth 1 have had Mary Queen of Scots beheaded?  Of course not.  Should there have been a Holocaust, gas chambers, torture and starvation in prison camps?  No, but all this took place.  Should Charles Guiteau, a disappointed office seeker, have assassinated my great grandfather, President James Garfield?  You might think that the country would have learned something after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  We cannot rewrite history but we should learn from the past how to behave in the present. 

Instead of changing the name of Agassiz Rock, or taking down statues of Confederate generals that are offensive to some, perhaps an explanatory sign would convey today's message.  This is being done with the movie "Gone With the Wind" to explain why slavery, as seen in the film, was an integral part of southern plantation culture.  We need to acknowledge the past, learn from it and change our present behavior, while acknowledging that changing history is impossible.  

For those who want to tear down reminders of the past that are now offensive to some, let me know how you can tear down the pyramids in Egypt that were built by slaves. 

Katharine Abbott 


sheila hill, sam cabot, history, agassiz, samuel cabot iii, elizabeth cabot cary, endicott college, harvard, renty taylor, samuel cabot incorporated, valspar, agassiz rock, louis agassiz, the trustees, trustees of reservation, guiteau, president james garfield