Restricted Pittsburgh Removes Stephen Foster Statue

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LoriAnn

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Oct 9, 2015
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.
It doesn't matter if the composer owned or did not own slaves or lived on a plantation though. You can clearly see what I'm seeing when we both look at the statue together.

I'm a soft touch when it comes to CW memorials and statues. Though I defer to the wishes of the majority (when done properly), I do not like to see some of these statues removed. I am not offended by the presence of Lee, Davis, Jackson, etc. I am even softer on the memorials created to remember the common soldier ~ men who just did what they were called, pushed, forced to do.

But this one is tough to defend. If it were just Foster standing there, I'd be more sympathetic. The appearance of the happy slave at his feet is what shoves me right off the fence.
 
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LoriAnn

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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.
If that is truly what motivated the creation of the images of these two, then I agree, that feels a little crazy.

In the Foster case, the image isn't being manipulated fortunately. It is just being moved.
 
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Belle Montgomery

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If that is truly what motivated the creation of the images of these two, then I agree, that feels a little crazy.

In the Foster case, the image isn't being manipulated fortunately. It is just being moved.
But I'll bet if the FDR and Eleanor statues would've gone up as planned the same groups would've fought to have them removed too! Parents would blame the FDR statue for teaching their kids to smoke and wear fur. :giggle:
 

LoriAnn

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Parents would blame the FDR statue for teaching their kids to smoke and wear fur. :giggle:
At the same time! *snicker*

Okay, okay...I'll be serious again.

A general comment: I've been trying to come up with another example that would adequately explain where I'm coming from, but I'm having trouble. It's very difficult to equate something with slavery. Certainly the dangers of smoking, the overlooking of the disabled, and the wearing of fur don't really come close.

Perhaps a statue that would hint at ~ or worse, overtly feature ~ the subjugation of women. The historical and artistic merits of such a statue would likely fall on deaf ears with me, and I certainly wouldn't want to see something like that so prominently displayed. Nor would I want my girls to see it held up as something of value.

If it were in a museum with context, then it would seem more appropriately placed.

I realize this isn't a perfect comparison. I don't think there is one.
 
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Burning Billy

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That history is being erased with each lump of marble or bronze we tear down is a frequent charge in these monument discussions...but is it really?

Perhaps that charge might have some weight were we all part of a culture that was largely illiterate, with those monuments the only avenue most of us have to learn about the past. Thankfully that is not the case as monuments do not tell the full story, and more often than not romanticize their subjects. D*mnatio memoriae might have worked for the ancient Egyptians or Romans, but it would not with a literate culture who also have access to libraries worth of information from home with a few strokes of their keyboard.

People get their history from books and the classroom, not statues with plaques that probably were engraved with less characters than the average Twitter post.
 
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jgoodguy

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The statue seem to be offensive, but I am not sure it was the original intent of the artist.
His audience was of the period.
Stephen Foster dies - Jan 13, 1864
In 1849, he was hired to write songs for the minstrel troupe of E.P. Christy;The Old Folks at Home” (also known as “Swanee River”) was among the most popular from this period. Between 1850 and 1860, Foster wrote many of his most famous songs, including “Camptown Races” and “My Old Kentucky Home.”​

Old Folks at Home
Since 1935 it has been the official state song of Florida, although in 2008 the original lyrics were expurgated.[1]
 

cash

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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.
If enough people are offended, then the monument gets removed. It's what we call rule by the people and local control. Some people thought it was a good thing and based our system of government on things like rule by the people.
 
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leftyhunter

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@Drew ,
You might want to goggle the song by Steven Foster "That's what's the matter"
It mentions "lead and steel" as a useful method of suppressing the Confederacy.
Foster was pro Union but his songs,were racist. I doubt black people in the mid 19th century really enjoyed being called "darkeys". There descendents have no reason to think Foster was not perpetrating racist stereotypes.
No reason statutes of Foster can't be displayed on private land or cities that the majority of it's people want it to be displayed.
Leftyhunter
 

major bill

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I am assuming some offensive statues depicting Native Americans have been removed as well. I am sure we can find offensive language and such on some statues.
 
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jgoodguy

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@Drew ,
You might want to goggle the song by Steven Foster "That's what's the matter"
It mentions "lead and steel" as a useful method of suppressing the Confederacy.
Foster was pro Union but his songs,were racist. I doubt black people in the mid 19th century really enjoyed being called "darkeys". There descendents have no reason to think Foster was not perpetrating racist stereotypes.
No reason statutes of Foster can't be displayed on private land or cities that the majority of it's people want it to be displayed.
Leftyhunter
IMHO clothes change, manners change, words change, politics change, diapers get changed, so what is unchangeable about statues.
 

jgoodguy

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I think anytime there is a majority support among locals for removing monuments, then the locals get to remove those monuments because they should have control over their own community.
I agree, after all, that is how they got there in the first place.
 
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Vicksburger

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What was acceptable at one time is no longer.
Totally disagree, I think you should look into Stephen Foster, My Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Camptown Races, Oh Susanna!, Open Thy Lattce Love, Angelina Baker,The Glendy Burk, Hard Times come Again No More, Beautiful Dreamer, Bardstown Kentucky, etc.
 

jgoodguy

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Totally disagree, I think you should look into Stephen Foster, My Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Camptown Races, Oh Susanna!, Open Thy Lattce Love, Angelina Baker,The Glendy Burk, Hard Times come Again No More, Beautiful Dreamer, Bardstown Kentucky, etc.
It is your inalienable right to disagree.

A different Foster song and statue and it would have been unremarkable.
 

major bill

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Do the locals disapprove of his music or just disaprove of the statue? Some of his lyrics are a bit racist by modern standards.
 
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jgoodguy

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Do the locals disapprove of his music or just disaprove of the statue? Some of his lyrics are a bit racist by modern standards.
The lyrics and the statue appear to be offensive in this day and time. I wonder how that statue and song ended up in Pittsburg.
 
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