Keep the monuments

    but provide the full story.

    Their existence is in effect a message the honoree was a brilliant performer. What's missing is that it was on behalf of an evil cause.

    Leave them.Just add  the rest of the story.For example

                  General Robert E. Lee

       Who struggled to keep millions in misery








    No. They are moving them to Confederate graveyards.

    Where row upon row of soldiers sacrificed for the lost, evil and traitorous cause are buried around and beneath them.

    New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a speech on the true history of the Confederate statues that should be read by all Americans. The statues were part of the Lost Cause project conducted by supporters of the Confederate ideology. In order to make support of slavery palatable to other citizens, they pretended that secession was not about expansion of slavery but about state's rights. The statues were part of the deception. The statues were erected to intimidate black citizens. Many were erected during the height of a lynching epidemic, as a message during Jim Crow, and as a counter to the push for Civil Rights. The statues do not honor heritage. The statues honor white supremacy. For those who tell the lie that removing statues means that we lose history, I suggest that you point them to libraries. There is a wealth of history found in books. You may actually be forced to deal with truth rather than propaganda.

    Link to the Landrieu speech

    Thanks for the link. I recall Landrieu's going to New Orleans after Katrina with a boat and rescuing people from rooftops.

    Far down in the comments that followed Landrieu's speech there was an exchange between

    Roy Gatherloaj ( I'll recheck the spelling) and Stephen Matlock.which contains a sentence

    that would go well on the plagues  attached to any statues that remained  "countless civilians fought to

    keep their black human brothers and sisters in chains". 

    Roy Gathercoal.

    These statues have nothing to do with heritage. The message was intimidation. People can read books and watch documentaries.

    Edit to add:

    Duke University removed a Robert E. Lee statue from its chapel.


    Historians are handling it. We are not the Taliban blowing things up just because the iconography  is antithetical to our current culture. It is the 21st century, not WWI where we are melting down statues of the Kaiser.

    Moving art that no longer expresses our culture from publicly-endorsed-and-supported iconography to museums, private collectors, graveyards or storage until it can be curated is the way we do this now.

    As an art historian, I disagree with rmrd that you can just read about it in books, though.

    So does Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Should Blacks Collect Racist Memorabilia?

    The actual objects are important.

    People should keep this principle in mind the next time there is a big brouhaha about publicly funded avant-garde art by conservatives: what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you don't like your city to fund a statue  that you consider racist, another taxpayer and voter might not like one that they think derides patriotic values.

    This is the problem of publicly funded art: it cannot be controversial. That was the problem of art in totalitarian states, where art and artists had to be state approved. It is important that a private art market and private collectors be maintained for precisely this reason and that museums have "freedom of speech" and we judge them by the quality of their curation.

    P.S. At the global level, we have a problem along these same lines. Purist archeologists want to totally stop the private market for antiquities because the private market provides incentives for looters. And it's very true that it does, but but but that is because there cannot enforcement of rules already on the international law books in areas where chaos and war or crooked governments reign . Where human lives are at stake, nobody rightly cares about the art, it might not just be looted, it might also be destroyed.

    A realist, cold hard rationalism sees that the market actually protects this stuff when there is not adequate government. We cannot guarantee there will always be adequate government to protect artifacts, there are revolutions and wars and Taliban types. A realist sees it works like this: the Elgin marbles still exist precisely because Lord Elgin took them from the Parthenon in Greece to be displayed in England at a time when England valued them and Greece did assign much value to them. It is proper and appropriate now to argue about England returning them. But they probably would no longer exist if Lord Elgin didn't take them.

    We try to handle this kind of thing with global government but as long as we don't have stable government worldwide to protect, the private market does help preserve. Look at the example of the UN world heritage sites being attacked by Islamists in areas of strife. Rightly so, few care about protecting historic artifacts when human beings are being killed right and left.

    We try to enforce the international law whenever we can, but that system is not perfect until our world is perfect. There are constant revolutions and wars. Governments constantly change in ideology and values. Reality is that we cannot rely on government to enforce and protect things of historic importance until there is one world democratic government with lots of enforcement. That's not going to happen. Meantime private collectors are temporary caretakers.

    Laws that encourage donation to public museums in stable societies are a good thing. Socialists that get upset over the tax breaks involved are not looking big picture.


    Many people cannot afford to purchase memorabilia like Dr. Gates. They can go to libraries and access Gates' series on African-American images. The Gates' series of books include a volume that includes Sambo memorabilia. I happen to own the entire series. Books are the easiest way to access history. There are online lectures that can educate about history. YouTube allows you to access Sambo cartoons and documentaries. The statues can be easily replaced.

    The new African-American National Museum is a great educational source, but for many requires travel  Additionally, tickets can be difficult to obtain. The museum has a series of books that allow access to some for the items on display in the museum. Books are a great introduction to history.

    Ok, I agree, I see why you were arguing that point now.

    There is related topic I'd like to offer my opinion on.

    That the white nationalists' protest was totally counterproductive to their purported cause. Local authorities have finally been able (in many cases, with the support of the descendants of the Confederates depicted by the statues) to move statues that they would long have liked to move but was low on the priority list. Especially as it would cause brouhaha: too much trouble to move something that people had long put up with being there, when they need energy and funds for more important things.

    They could do so without much trouble on their part by giving the reason that they don't want to draw white nationalist protests to the site. It is a security argument, it is about unwanted violence. They don't even have to get into ideological arguments.

    This is the lesson leftist protestors should take away from that: violence is totally totally counterproductive to cause now in this age of terrorism. If you exhibit violence in your protest, people will naturally work against things you want, because you will be equated with the terrorist threat. Whatever glory and success might have once been in fighting in the streets (and I think mostly that was bullshit, too, because it is debatable, I was there when the Weathermen et. al. made it impossible for anyone but Nixon to get the U.S. out of Vietnam), it' over for the foreseeable future, not there, totally counter productive, you lose more than you win.

    lost long comment on new "public monuments" to error, maybe some other time....

    I long ago discovered that any writing I do must be periodically saved if it's not done with a word processor that has an auto save function. It's a pain to select and copy every paragraph but it's worth the trouble with a long comment.

    According to who?

    Is the question that occurs to me. 

    Who should decide whether a statue of a Confederate worthy should grace the plaza somewhere? The question is not a general question about censorship. We can discuss that elsewhere. It's who should decide this  specific question for a specific location. 

    The blacks who live there.

    They have the most to lose. They are the ones whose ancestors were treated as less than human. And still  treated in very bad ways in some places .They're the ones with skin in the game. 

    Let them decide.

    What should be done for the decendents of that  Confederate worthy? Something. It's not a non-question.    

    That can be addressed after the local blacks decide whether that statue should remain.

    End of story

    The monuments would never have been built if the white supremacists hadn't won the war over reconstruction. They lost the Civil War which was only a war over slavery. The Civil war wasn't a war for equal rights. It was probably inevitable that the white supremacists would win the reconstruction war since the majority of the nation was white supremacists. Even most of those against slavery were white supremacists and didn't support equal rights for Negros. The majority of the nation probably didn't support equal rights for Jews or minority Christian sects.

    In the end the monuments honoring those who committed treason against the United States and fought to maintain slavery will all be gone. While some racism still exists American has moved on enough that the majority is no longer white supremacists. It won't happen tomorrow or next year but eventually all those monuments will be removed.

    Whites have to take ownership of the racism that underlies the erection of the statues. Whites need to openly state that the statues need to go. Name a community where you suspect a majority of blacks want the statues to remain. Blacks wanted the Confederate flag removed from state grounds in South Carolina, whites did not care. Nikki Haley is viewed as a hero when the flag came down after the slaughter of nine black worshippers in a Charleston church. The easily discoverable truth is that Haley resisted removing the flag.

    Haley in 2011

    Gubernatorial candidate Haley supports the Confederate flag in 2014 citing lack of pressure from CEOs

    Haley finally reverses her position on removing the Confederate flag

    Confederate flag timeline

    Trump supporters were incensed by the removal of the flag


    Haley is a hero because the "Lost Cause" project that sugarcoats Confederate supporters


    The removal of the Confederate statues is the obligation of white, not black people. The situation is the same in dealing with the consequences of  electing Donald Trump.

    Edit to add:

    Kevin Drum has an excellent graph that shows when the momunments were created. The peak creation coincided with lynchings and the fight for civil rights.


    Thanks for the Kevin Drum graph.

    Yes, whites should take ownership.. If they don't  blacks have the right to act.  

    How ? Like the young Mandela or the later one.? Somehow  reminds me  of

     Bishop Tutu's  laugh  when asked whether Mandela was ever in contact with Helen Suzman." Every Sunday  he phones her and says " were you thinking of making pancakes this morning?"

    Trump makes it imperative for whites to address the mess that he created. A majority of black men and women rejected Trump. A majority of white men and women voted for Trump. Trump is saddened by the loss of beautiful Confederate statues. He sickens me. Whites in urban and diverse areas seem up to the task of urging removal of Confederate statues. 

    Trump makes it imperative for whites to address the mess that he created

    Not really. Not all whites. First of all, a majority of them are on the side that fought and won a Civil War and then were against Jim Crow. Why is it imperative for people with white skin alone to address those with white skin who racist southerners.

    Why do you insist on using rhetoric that is segregationist as to black skin and white skin?

    There's the many new mixed race citizens since laws against interracial marriage were revoked, where do they fit in your "all blacks are responsible for blacks" and "all whites are responsible for all whites" rhetoric.

    I find it offensive, really I do. It's like you are buying into the whole southern segregationist narrative sometimes.I just don't think that way, I am used to having a mixed family and living in a mixed race city.

    Mitch Landrieu knew that it fell to him to address the Confederate statues in New Orleans. He accepted the burden. Whites realized that their presence was needed to counter the divisive message of white supremacists. They accepted the burden and showed up in Charlottesville and in Boston. White supremacists need to hear that they are deplorable from other whites. Whites are taking on the burden of countering white supremacists, it is a thing of beauty.

    White activists are not hiding behind mixed families to stay on the sidelines and pretend that we are post racial. They are attacking racism. 

    Could you cite something to support your opinion that NYC is post racial?

    What Haley really did when she removed the Confederate flag from the statehouse, was to change the subject.  All of a sudden the outrage, fear, anger, and misery caused by Dylan Roof's murderous and racism-inspired rampage flew off the radar and was supplanted by "intellectual" arguments about the flag. 

    Haley is good at what she does. I just don't happen to like what she does. 

    I agree. Her status as a person of virtue regarding the flag is undeserved.

    Flavius, if your question was less rhetorical and more about the real practical process about having publicly displayed Confederate statues moved . I found this WaPo video to be quite good as an overview of what happened with the one statue in Charlottesburg



    It's not so easy. Precisely because: it's a minority of people who really care passionately about putting a lot of energy into removing them or in having them stay. They are an irritant to many of the locals, but people have higher priorities with the local government that applies. Just letting them sit out of inertia is easy. Getting rid of them is hard.  Many people don't even know who the statue is of anymore, others who might like to see them gone are not going to take off of work to go to the City Council meeting to say so. If they are going to be going to a council meeting, it's going to be about controlling rising rents.

    Then when you say you are taking it down, some racist yahoo finds the money to challenge it in court. Costs more money and time. Rinse and repeat UNTIL: national white supremacist groups get interested and come to your city or town and get violent. Then you can much more easily remove such statues based on security grounds, that you don't want these statues up drawing violent white nationalists to your locality. And few will squawk about it because they don't want the violent drawn to their community!

    The point I was trying to make is that the white nationalists, and Trump, by making it a big violence-related deal, is making it much easier to finally move statues that many would have liked to see gone long ago. Just not in the budget until it was a security issue.

    Also keep in mind all of the statues being talked about are not on public property and therefore not owned by and being maintained by taxpayers of a local government. One example is that Duke University just removed one of Robert E. Lee. They are a private university and can display any art they desire.

    deleted duplicate


    Nazis and KKK and bigots can gather there and wave swastikas.

    Brilliant idea!

    That's it!

    Next subject?

    Once again, NCD, I bow in awe of your skillful introjection wink

    another overnight move to avoid controversy or violence, like mayor of Baltimore did, U Texas-Austin:

    University of Texas removes Confederate statues

    Washington Post 1h ago
    Related Coverage

    Overnight removal of confederate statues from UT ordered by President Fenves

    Local Source 1h ago

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