A Black woman who worked for a Confederate landmark in Alabama has filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer after she says they discriminated against her because of her race.
Evelyn England worked as a receptionist for the “First White House of the Confederacy” for 12 years, but retired this week after a series of professional disputes.
Employment records obtained by The Washington Post show that England, 62, was suspended for three days last month after refusing to sign a performance review. England said she filed the lawsuit through the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In her line of work, England said she got used to getting puzzling looks by white and Black visitors to the home where Confederate president Jefferson Davis lived with his family in the early months of the Civil War.
“I’m in a unique position because whites don’t really want me here, and Blacks don’t want to come here,” England told The Associated Press.
England does wish the museum would admit that slavery was part of the reason the Civil War started instead of it “sort of stated around.”
“Tell it like it is. Just tell it like it is. This happened. This is what is known to have happened. Give it as absolute truth as you can … Until that, you are painting a false narrative that this was a gala –– no, there were some ugly things that happened,” England said.
Over the years, England said the museum made notable changes, including halting the sale of Confederate flags and taking down a “shrine” to Davis. “They have taken step.s It might be baby steps.”
In the end, England hopes that her presence helped changed some people’s minds.
“Just open up what you are thinking. That’s where the real change is,” she said.