On statues...

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moonshadow
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On statues...

Post by moonshadow »

https://www.roanoke.com/opinion/editori ... 4228c.html

An interesting and thought provoking article written by the editor of the Roanoke Times.

There is some fascinating history at the bottom of the article that helps to explain why Virginia is the way it is...
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Re: On statues...

Post by moonshadow »

Snippet:
Virginia did not move directly from Reconstruction to repression. Instead, in the 1880s there was a brief period in which Virginia was actually on a pretty progressive path for its time, one led by the Readjuster Party, which at the time was the civil rights party in the state (and was aligned with Republicans nationally). During those years, Virginia abolished the poll tax and the whipping post. It appointed African-Americans to government posts. It elected African-Americans to public office. Virginia’s first African-American congressman was a Republican, John Langston of Louisa County, who was elected in 1888, more than a decade after Reconstruction formally ended. Danville elected a black-majority town council and proceeded to integrate its police force. Then came the reaction, in a series of elections in the 1880s and 1890s that saw a conservative backlash. Those elections were every bit as consequential as Appomattox, just in different ways. In 1902, with conservative Democrats firmly in charge, Virginia rewrote its constitution to disenfranchise as many people (black and white) as possible. The state’s leaders refused to put the new document to a vote because they knew voters were unlikely to disenfranchise themselves. Instead, the constitution was simply “proclaimed,” a kind of a legal coup d’etat. It was during that era that Jim Crow laws were enthusiastically passed — and Confederate statutes started going up, a visible assertion of just who was really in charge. Few Virginians understood that era because even in the 1970s official state textbooks glorified the conservative Democrats who instituted that crackdown and vilified the Republican progressives who tried to set Virginia on a different path.
My my my.... history repeats itself... the names (and parties) may have changed.... but boy does the story always remain the same....
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PatJ
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Re: On statues...

Post by PatJ »

On Statues, beings that I am from the North, I say let them stand.

Like it or not, they are part of our history and heritage. We need
to be able to look at where we have been in order to know which
way we should go.

Removing these statues (and monuments) is akin to denying who
we are and what we had to get through in order to be the people
we are.

Your views may differ and that is okay by me.

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Re: On statues...

Post by crfriend »

PatJ wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:46 pm
On Statues, beings that I am from the North, I say let them stand.
I am of the same opinion. The removal of these artefacts of history are akin to trying to rewrite history itself, which usually has disastrous results. If something from the past bothers you -- good. It's supposed to, and that helps us to keep repeating some of the worst portions of our history. Sweeping it aside and forgetting it greatly increases the odds of a repeat performance.

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." is very good advice.
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Re: On statues...

Post by Shilo »

crfriend wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:05 pm
PatJ wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:46 pm
On Statues, beings that I am from the North, I say let them stand.
I am of the same opinion. The removal of these artefacts of history are akin to trying to rewrite history itself, which usually has disastrous results. If something from the past bothers you -- good. It's supposed to, and that helps us to keep repeating some of the worst portions of our history. Sweeping it aside and forgetting it greatly increases the odds of a repeat performance.

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." is very good advice.

Couldn’t agree more. Trying to rewrite history is a form of censorship Where will this end. George Washington was a slave owner. Are they going to remove his statues, take his portrait from currency, rename the state and the capital. Who’s next in this witch hunt?
If you look hard enough you can probably find slavers and slave owners in most families, including a lot of black ones. And I don’t mean those fathered by the owners.
Learn the lessons of the past and vow to use them to improve the future for every race.
A strong case for not removing evidence is the number of Japanese children who believe we were all on the same side in WW11.
:roll:

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Re: On statues...

Post by moonshadow »

I respectfully disagree (no need to quote all three responders)...

To me... it's just a statue. Now I couldn't care less of they stay or go. Leaving them up doesn't offend me either.

History can not be changed, it is what it is, statue or not.

I think the best was to preserve history is to record it accurately. How exactly does a statue accomplish this?
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Re: On statues...

Post by moonshadow »

A side note, I have personally visited and photographed the famous statue in Charlottesville Virginia of Robert E. Lee, I had and still have great admiration for the artwork that went into the statue, but I admit I learned nothing about the history of Lee from simply observing the statue.

What I learned about Lee, I learned from other sources, books, encyclopedias, tour guides, etc....

It's not the statue itself, it's what it represents in the hearts and minds of the white and black community The statue itself is a relic of a past fraught with injustice towards the black community... time to turn the page.

Lest we forget.... I am Virginia born and raised (southern) and was raised in a very white family, who were (and some still are) klan sympathizers.

No... its not hate. That part the whites are correct about. Very few whites I was raised around actually "hated" blacks. That's not the issue. The issue is that we honestly believed we (the whites) were better than the blacks. We believed the blacks to be second class citizens. To those I was in the company of growing up, monuments to Lee did NOT represent hatred towards blacks, but it DOES represent a sentiment that whites are the supreme race.

No... we don't hate blacks, we just felt they were glorified dogs,or rather, chattel that should counting their blessings they are no longer in chains.

That's how things are down here... the statues should probably go.
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Re: On statues...

Post by Fred in Skirts »

Removing statues is like removing the history from the school books and not teaching the children about what happened in the past. And that is just what they are doing right now in our schools. If we are to survive we need to remember the past not try to hide it just because some segment of our society hates it. How many of your children and grand children know what happened in WW1 or what went down at Appomattox Courthouse? How many know that a lot of slaves fought along side their masters in the civil war..

So do not remove history even if you personally do not like it.....
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Re: On statues...

Post by beachlion »

I think there is a difference between remembering and glorifying. If you put a statue on a prominent place, it is glorifying. Put the same statue in a museum with some clarification, it is remembering and educational. A statue or monument of a "wrong" person can still be a work of art and should be preserved. It should not get a place of honour.

My elementary school was and still is called Van Heutszschool after a general and governor of (then) the Dutch East Indies. As a general he put down rebellion in Atjeh (Sumatra) around 1900. For that he was called a hero and decorated accordingly but now he would have been a war criminal. It is part of the Dutch history and it is in the past. It is not possible to undo it but you can learn from it and you can try to prevent it happening again.
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Re: On statues...

Post by Stu »

There are statues of many deeply-flawed figures in major cities, ranging from Mandela and Karl Marx in London to Lenin in numerous cities around the world. These people are part of world history. Their statues are the property of all of us and they should be left alone.

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Re: On statues...

Post by moonshadow »

beachlion wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:29 pm
think there is a difference between remembering and glorifying. If you put a statue on a prominent place, it is glorifying. Put the same statue in a museum with some clarification, it is remembering and educational. A statue or monument of a "wrong" person can still be a work of art and should be preserved. It should not get a place of honour.
Beachlion gets it.

A statue is not a history book. It's a monument.

A statue teaches nothing about history... other than the figure was glorified at some point in time.

I do not advocate removal of history, I advocate the removal of a monument of black oppression to many Virginians.

And most of the 20th century was a pretty lousy time for black Americans. These statues represent that. And yes... they represent that in rural white America too. If only I had a nickel for every time I heard "them sorry assed n------s" growing up.

I hear it the time even to the present day.

As recently as about a year ago a man said to me, when discussing the plight of the black man, "these f------ing n------s don't know no better"

I hear this rhetoric all. the. freaking. time, and the same people who spout out that vomit are always the same people who get fighting mad when you talk about dismantling their beloved southern monuments.

No... it's time to call a spade a spade.

Removing a scar from your body doesn't erase the medical record, nor does it erase how you got the scar. Such as it is with monuments, removing them won't erase history, their history is still documented in museums, history books, stories, etc.

If you bang up your fender on your brand new car, you typically take it to the body shop to have it repaired, you don't leave the dent as a constant reminder of that day you didn't look before backing.

Liberation... that's something to be proud of.
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Re: On statues...

Post by crfriend »

moonshadow wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:04 pm
I do not advocate removal of history, I advocate the removal of a monument of black oppression to many Virginians.
Also of note in this discussion is that we cannot judge figures from another time by the standards of the present day; we must judge them by the standards of their day. The two are incompatible more often than not.

Lee is actually quite an interesting character, and he was well regarded and decorated from his time in the United States military. In his writings, specifically some of his letters, we see him actively distressed by what was going on and eventually -- and somewhat reluctantly -- chose the Confederacy because he was born a Virginian and owed his loyalty to his state if for no other reason than by birth.

By the time that the "Civil War" or "The War Between the States" shattered the United States and forever redefined it into what it is today, slavery was already very much out of vogue in the entire world save for the Confederacy because there it was the economic linchpin that held everything together because all the Confederacy had in meaningful quantities was cheap cotton -- and those in power had no other way of running things. It would have collapsed on its own in time in much the same manner as Apartheid South Africa (which remains badly torn to this day). It was an interesting experiment which showed us simultaneously the best and the worst possible outcomes of the Jeffersonian Model, just as we've seen the best that the Hamiltonian Model can produce and are beginning to viscerally experience the worst of what it can produce.
And most of the 20th century was a pretty lousy time for black Americans. These statues represent that. And yes... they represent that in rural white America too. If only I had a nickel for every time I heard "them sorry assed n------s" growing up.
Don't think that the North is very different, because it's not. Racism in the North is pervasive to this day, and as thoroughly as nasty as it was/is in the South.
Removing a scar from your body doesn't erase the medical record, nor does it erase how you got the scar. Such as it is with monuments, removing them won't erase history, their history is still documented in museums, history books, stories, etc.
Until the history books get "revised", the museums closed, the stories censored, and you have a population that is illiterate.
If you bang up your fender on your brand new car, you typically take it to the body shop to have it repaired, you don't leave the dent as a constant reminder of that day you didn't look before backing.
Actually, I've been known to do that.
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Re: On statues...

Post by moonshadow »

Based on the perspective of the article quoted above, the statues never went up to begin with to "preserve history" but rather went up as a constant reminder of "who was really in charge" in the first half of the 20th century.

History doesn't record a Lee statue back when Lee was alive...

The statue is a re-writing of history!

The statue serves to indicate that just because the south lost, don't think the "spirit" of white supremacy died with it... and here's a statue to forever remind you [blacks] of your place.

I'm not saying Lee was a bad man, or a good man, I'm not his judge, this has nothing to do with Lee as far as I'm concerned, it has everything to do with what a statue of Lee represents today, and back when it was erected decades after the war ended....

We must ask ourselves what was the real motive behind the erection of the statue? That is where the golden nugget of Jim Crow era history resides.

If we were talking about destroying an actual artifact of Lee's era, or of Lee himself (such as a letter, article he may have penned, etc) then yes... we need to preserve that, because that is an actual artifact of Lee's history.

I'm not saying we should destroy the man's grave site, that would be disrespectful.

But we're just talking about a statue, and the 800lb gorilla in the room I feel we are ignoring here is why was the statue erected to begin with?
Until the history books get "revised", the museums closed, the stories censored, and you have a population that is illiterate.
There are still some of us that preserve and protect history as best we can. I pride myself on collecting old books and holding on to them. My camera has photographed many things, including the Lee statue in Charlottesville. I photographed it to preserve the history NOT of the 1860's, but of 1924, which interestingly enough was the highlight of the klan movement.

What's buried under Appomattox Virginia us civil war history and SHOULD be preserved. What sits in a place of high prominence in Charlottesville is not civil war history, its just a symbol of the order of matters back in 1924.
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Re: On statues...

Post by beachlion »

As an off-topic to the off-topic I can add something to my mention of general Van Heutsz who ended the uproar in Atjeh around the 1900s. Two brothers of my grandfather were marines under Van Heutsz and fought over there. They came back quite shattered and they retired to a military nursing home in the Netherlands. One shot himself and the other drank a liter (about a quart) of jenever a day, starting before breakfast. I had to reconstruct those facts from the little pieces I was not supposed to hear as a kid.
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Re: On statues...

Post by Brad »

I don't call it rewriting history. I call it history as it was meant to be written.

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