Historical truth

To the editor:

The use of the image of Lawrence burning during Quantrill’s Raid for a sports related T-shirt is yet another example of individuals not understanding history and the historical significance of a particular event. Let us set the record straight.

William Clarke Quantrill’s raid of Lawrence came weeks after the Union army had been victorious in the decisive battle of Gettysburg and only months after Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, marking the shift of the war effort from a “war to save the union” to a war of freedom and the destruction of slavery.

Quantrill understood this shift and descended on Lawrence, a “nest of abolitionism,” with a force of nearly 450 Confederate irregulars and slaughtered 200 people, the worst civilian massacre of the war. Quantrill’s Raid had everything to do with race and slavery, and any use of that image to discuss a sports rivalry is not only in poor taste, but is also an attempt to misrepresent a historical event that was not racially benign.

The individuals behind the T-shirt should be ashamed of themselves and the University of Missouri should denounce the use of the image, whether it is affiliated with the shirt’s production or not.

Shawn Leigh Alexander,