Restricted Pittsburgh Removes Stephen Foster Statue

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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Not quite that simple... elected officials make decisions for a variety of reasons, including public opinion, however...

Politicians ALSO make decisions to benefit their public image AND their ability to secure large donors. Donors who tend to either make statements with their donations, OR fear backlash from special interest groups who may make an issue of such things.

Let the people decide in a referendum, and let the politicians enforce THAT decision.

Thats my two cents worth...
Where was the referendum to put it up?
 

Tailor Pete

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Where was the referendum to put it up?
Good point, but totally moot. The statue MAY have been erected without recorded public consent, but even if it were, the motivations for the establishment of the monument CANNOT be used as a reason for a subsequent referendum for its relocation (admit it folks, there IS at least a tacit promise to find a more appropriate location for it.)

Ultimately, I don't feel that it serves any good for politicians to flex their authoritarian muscles where historical sites and monuments are concerned. This is ultimately a decision to be made by the people of Pittsburg.
 

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Good point, but totally moot. The statue MAY have been erected without recorded public consent, but even if it were, the motivations for the establishment of the monument CANNOT be used as a reason for a subsequent referendum for its relocation (admit it folks, there IS at least a tacit promise to find a more appropriate location for it.)
It may surprise you to learn not everyone agrees with what you think can or cannot be done.

Ultimately, I don't feel that it serves any good for politicians to flex their authoritarian muscles where historical sites and monuments are concerned. This is ultimately a decision to be made by the people of Pittsburg.
If the people of Pittsburgh don't like it, they can recall the politicians who voted for this action by the democratic process, or they can vote these politicians out at the next election.
 
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1950lemans

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This is one of the problems with history. View change. Yes this Stephen Foster song is racist by current standards but perhaps not so by period standards. So how does America deal with views from the past that are considered politically incorrect by current standards?

So by todays views the statue is not acceptable by the people of Pittsburgh, so they removed it. I am a bit saddened that art works are removed, but in the end the residents get to decide. Some books, movies, and other things express views that are dated by current standards.
One of the main reasons, some call it" the meaning", "the purpose", for history is so we know our past to use as a guide into our future. And that includes judging. We judge history because we see the results of such past actions. We judge them to be good or bad.
It's not political correctness. It's a sense of trying, of stumbling, to move to a higher standard. That's what it means to be really human. That's why historians call it the "human condition".
 

Vicksburger

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A Pennsylvania native, Stephen Foster was an early 19th century songwriter whose contributions included, "Oh! Susanna" and "Camptown Races." Foster's song, "My Old Kentucky Home," remains Kentucky's State Song.

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/01/13/stephen-foster-wrote-oh-susanna-cincinnati/1031795001/

He was neither a Confederate nor a slaveholder, but his statue was declared "offensive" and so now it's gone. He died in 1864 at the age 37.

"The Giuseppe Moretti statue was completed in 1900 and thousands attended its dedication."

https://www.41nbc.com/2018/04/26/oh-susanna-songwriters-statue-removed-after-criticism/
Ridiculous idiocy is what it is. Foster was a genius and should be honored and celebrated. He was a son of Pittsburgh, and their loss if they don't want to claim him. This is political correctness run amok no doubt. What terrible times we are living in!
 

Tailor Pete

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It may surprise you to learn not everyone agrees with what you think can or cannot be done.



If the people of Pittsburgh don't like it, they can recall the politicians who voted for this action by the democratic process, or they can vote these politicians out at the next election.
...or perhaps the very politicians who might just be putting their service careers on the line, could have taken the true high road and put the decision to the people in the first place!

Don't get me wrong, I do find the statue offensive in a number of ways, but the people, NOT the political machine, should have the final say BEFORE any such decision is made. Recalling the offending politicians is a bit like closing the barn doors after the cows have been rustled away into the night.
 
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...or perhaps the very politicians who might just be putting their service careers on the line, could have taken the true high road and put the decision to the people in the first place!

Don't get me wrong, I do find the statue offensive in a number of ways, but the people, NOT the political machine, should have the final say BEFORE any such decision is made. Recalling the offending politicians is a bit like closing the barn doors after the cows have been rustled away into the night.
Recall is the democratic remedy for a city council going beyond what the people want. My understanding is the statue has not been destroyed, so it can be moved back if the good citizens of Pittsburgh so desire.
 

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Ridiculous idiocy is what it is. Foster was a genius and should be honored and celebrated. He was a son of Pittsburgh, and their loss if they don't want to claim him. This is political correctness run amok no doubt. What terrible times we are living in!
Apparently Pittsburgh doesn't share your opinion.
 
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DaveBrt

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I would say, "Be reasonable," but it is clear reason is not involved. I doubt anyone could name any significant historical person who would not offend someone. If offending someone is the standard, then we will have no monuments to individuals.
 

LoriAnn

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Was it moved to another site?
"Earlier this week, Mr. Peduto said the city had reached out to more than a dozen organizations to find the Foster statue a new home. So far, none was able or interested enough to take it, he said. Discussions are continuing.

“We’ll find a location that’s appropriate. We’ll take the time to do it right,” Mr. Peduto said, noting the sculpture was moved in the 1940s from an initial perch in Highland Park. The administration wouldn’t say which groups recently declined to play host.

Still, Peduto chief of staff Dan Gilman said it’s important that the location be chosen through a public effort.

“For us, it’s more about the process than the final determination,” he said. While the city should recognize history, the statue should be situated where people can explore its background, intent and nuances in full context, including why it offends, Mr. Gilman said."


Source
 
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LoriAnn

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I would say, "Be reasonable," but it is clear reason is not involved. I doubt anyone could name any significant historical person who would not offend someone. If offending someone is the standard, then we will have no monuments to individuals.
I agree with your thoughts overall, but this particular statue features what looks like a happy slave at a white man's feet.
I can completely understand people finding that offensive.

The statue doesn't need to be destroyed, and Foster's name need not be dragged through the mud. His work can still be admired.
 

major bill

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The statue seem to be offensive, but I am not sure it was the original intent of the artist.
 

matthew mckeon

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Reference

Sculpted in 1900 by Giuseppe Moretti, the statue has sat across from the Stephen Foster Memorial since 1940. It depicts Foster, a 19th-century songwriter known for his minstrel and parlor songs, standing while transcribing his piece “Uncle Ned,” a song about a slave. A black man sits at his feet, wearing tattered clothes and strumming a banjo.

The 10-foot-tall bronze statue has been a subject of controversy for years. The City of Pittsburgh Art Commission held a public meeting on the fate of the statue back in early Oct. 2017 at the John P. Robin Civic Building in Downtown Pittsburgh, where audience members shared their views on the sculpture.

The Art Commission unanimously voted in Oct. 2017 to recommend the statue’s removal. The City confirmed in March that the statue would be removed in April.

Reference

Old Uncle Ned
Written & Composed by Stephen C. Foster
New York: Millet's Music Salon, 1848

Dere was an old Nigga, dey call'd him uncle Ned--
He's dead long ago, long ago!
He had no wool on de top ob his head--
De place whar de wool ought to grow.

Den lay down de shubble and de hoe,
Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
No more hard work for poor Old Ned--
He's gone whar de good Niggas go,
No more hard work for poor Old Ned--
He's gone whar de good Niggas go.

His fingers were long like de cane in de brake,
He had no eyes for to see;
He had no teeth for to eat de corn cake,
So he had to let de corn cake be.

Den lay down de shubble and de hoe,
Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
No more hard work for poor Old Ned--
He's gone whar de good Niggas go,
No more hard work for poor Old Ned--
He's gone whar de good Niggas go.

When Old Ned die Massa take it mighty hard,
De tears run down like de rain;
Old Missus turn pale and she gets berry sad,
Cayse she nebber see Old Ned again.

Den lay down de shubble and de hoe,
Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
No more hard work for poor Old Ned--
He's gone whar de good Niggas go,
No more hard work for poor Old Ned--
He's gone whar de good Niggas go.
Yuck.
 
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matthew mckeon

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Look at it. Jeez. Its pretty bad.

"I'm a popular composer, and my songs are full of happy slaves because that's what sold to white people in the mid 19th century. And look, I'm actually sitting on a grinning, happy slave. Like me use the n word a few times, and the kids can sing along. My imaginary happy slave should exist for all time!"
 

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If you go back to 1996-1997 you will see that there was a big hoopla regarding the FDR and Eleanor statues. FDR hated being seen in his wheelchair but the disability advocates wanted him depicted in one. The cigarette holder he was always seen with clenched in his smile supposedly helped the depression era people see their leader smiling and cool as cucumber through hard times but the anti smoking sentiment killed that. What about Eleanor? She was always seen wearing her signature fur boa that they left off to please the anti-fur activists. I'll quote one of the articles written back then that I agree with:

"Once you head down the path of adjusting the past to fit modern sensibilities, you are engaged in Soviet-style history. In the old days, figures like Trotsky and Beria would simply disappear from historical photographs when their presence became politically uncomfortable."
 
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Vicksburger

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I agree with your thoughts overall, but this particular statue features what looks like a happy slave at a white man's feet.
I can completely understand people finding that offensive.

The statue doesn't need to be destroyed, and Foster's name need not be dragged through the mud. His work can still be admired.
But that couldn't be, could it, because Foster never owned slaves or lived on a plantation. It is a scene from one of his songs, he wrote about the Southern people. You ought to check it out.
 

jgoodguy

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But that couldn't be, could it, because Foster never owned slaves or lived on a plantation. It is a scene from one of his songs, he wrote about the Southern people. You ought to check it out.
What was acceptable at one time is no longer.
 
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