For Vivian Flowers, the two men were never on the same historical playing field.
One fought as a general in the Confederate Army. The other, a century later, sought to undo the ramifications of slavery and Jim Crow laws — inequality, poverty, lack of education, to name a few.
So she puzzled over a question when, as a child, she traveled with her family from their Torrance home to visit family in Arkansas for summer and winter vacations: Why did the state honor both Robert E. Lee and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?
In a joint holiday. On the same day.
“It was just wrong, and as I got older — learned more about history — it was even more wrong to me,” says...