Restricted Instead of Removing Confederate Statues, Should We Add to Them?

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Pat Young

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Kevin Levin has an interesting suggestion on his blog today, prompted by some "guerrilla" statuary. Here in NY, the infamous "Charging Bull" statue got an addition a month ago when a small statue of a "Fearless Girl" was placed in front of it.

fearless girl.JPG


The Charging Bull, erected illegally two decades ago, has often been criticized for its seeming glorification of unrestrained capitalish, seemed to many New Yorkers to have met its match in the defiant little girl. Like any "art", both pieces are open to multiple interpretations. However, apart from the individual merits of either statue, the two seem to create a different space than either of them would alone.

In his blog, Levin asks if, instead of removing Confederate memorials or adding interpretive signage as some have suggested in Richmond and other cities, the example of the Fearless Girl should be followed.

http://cwmemory.com/2017/03/28/does-the-robert-e-lee-monument-need-a-fearless-girl/
 

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Pat Young

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Levin writes that friend who is a public historian made this observation to him:

What if, in keeping with the crowd that’s calling for adding new monuments rather than taking down the old ones, we were to add slaves to the base of the statues of Lee, Davis, or Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, just as this girl was added to the bull? Or what if there was a US Army soldier added like this girl, with bayoneted musket leveled at Lee and Davis enforcing the law and the Constitution and defiantly standing in the way of their secession and treason? How would that transform those monuments from symbols of the Lost Cause into something entirely new and different? It’s an option that we haven’t thought about. It satisfies those who say that taking them down destroys or covers up history; it preserves the monuments as part of the history of the built environment, thus satisfying the historic preservationists; and it gives the subjects of the monuments a 21st century sensibility.
 
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Cavalry Charger

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Levin writes that friend who is a public historian made this observation to him:

What if, in keeping with the crowd that’s calling for adding new monuments rather than taking down the old ones, we were to add slaves to the base of the statues of Lee, Davis, or Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, just as this girl was added to the bull? Or what if there was a US Army soldier added like this girl, with bayoneted musket leveled at Lee and Davis enforcing the law and the Constitution and defiantly standing in the way of their secession and treason? How would that transform those monuments from symbols of the Lost Cause into something entirely new and different? It’s an option that we haven’t thought about. It satisfies those who say that taking them down destroys or covers up history; it preserves the monuments as part of the history of the built environment, thus satisfying the historic preservationists; and it gives the subjects of the monuments a 21st century sensibility.
Personally, I'd match man with man...I'd match General with General. Who was the icon's greatest opponent? Put a statue of Grant astride his horse in opposition to Lee, etc. Of course, you'd have to do the same in the North to complement this ideology. I don't think we need to politicise these issues any more than they are already politicised. We already know what these men stood for, and can place our own interpretations around that. For people in the South it might be different to people in the North...just my two cents worth :wink:
 
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CMWinkler

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Personally, I'm match man with man...I'd match General with General. Who was the icon's greatest opponent? Put a statue of Grant astride his horse in opposition to Lee, etc. Of course, you'd have to do the same in the North to complement this ideology. I don't think we need to politicise these issues any more than they are already politicised. We already know what these men stood for, and can place our own interpretations around that. For people in the South it might be different to people in the North...just my two cents worth :wink:
Might even aid reconciliation.
 

Pat Young

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His Friend's suggest doesn't bother me. Feel free to add slave statues or Union soldiers with leveled rifled muskets.
I have to say it is not something I could have envisioned before the statue of the girl appeared. BTW, there is a quite a bit of positive and negative discussion of the "Fearless Girl" in New York, but tourists seem to like taking pictures of it.
 
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Might even aid reconciliation.
I'd like to think so :smile: These men were military men, at least as the time of the CW, and not politicians. The idea posed, in my opinion, is to politicise the monuments. Where there is a monument to a politician, place his opponent alongside him i.e. Lincoln/Davis, etc. Then, let the teaching begin...match military deeds to military deeds, political speeches and rhetoric to the same. Then, let the people make their own guided interpretations...
 
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The possibilities are endless. A bronze Frederick Douglass gives bronze Jefferson Davis the bronze finger would be my favorite. A heroic statue of Benjamin Butler(because who doesn't like a challenge?), festooned with spoons.
I think Frederick Douglass showed himself to be above such actions. He was a man of intelligence and articulate, too.
 
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